TJ - A Tribute
September 3, 1916 - September 2, 1998
Born at Jembaicumbene near Braidwood in NSW and later brought up at Goolgowi, a hamlet on the wheat plains of south-western NSW, TJ worked from the age of seven alongside his father in the bush.
He left for Melbourne in 1931 to become a jockey but a serious fall shattered his right hip, leaving him with a lifelong limp.
Granted a trainer's licence in 1941, TJ won his first race with Bragger at Rosehill in 1942.
Smith famously told jockey George Moore on a train from Wagga to Melbourne that one day soon he'd train the Derby winner and Moore would ride it -- and he fulfilled his ambition when Moore rode 100-1 chance Playboy to win the 1949AJC Derby - the first of an astonishing 35 Derby successes.
In the 1952-53 season TJ won his first training premiership, breaking a four year sequence of premierships won by Maurice McCarten.
He went on to win the premiership for the next 32 years, a world record , relinquishing the title to Brian Mayfield-Smith for three seasons before bouncing back for 34th title in 1989.
"Tommy was a unique genius in his own profession, the likes of which we shall never see again"David Hains, owner of Kingston Town.
In autumn of 1994 a subtle changing of the guard took place when Smith, hospitalised for a knee operation, transferred Pharaoh into Gai's name.
She put the polish on the Sackford gelding and he fulfilled Smith's estimation of both horse and trainer by giving Gai the first of four successive Doncaster Handicap victories.
Although he'd effectively handed the reins to Gai, TJ remained an irrepresible fixture as one of Australia's biggest owners at Tulloch Lodge where he was actively involved until the day he died.