Born in Royston, near Barnsley, Bryan Smart’s father and his grandfather were coal miners and his mother worked in a shirt factory.
From an early age, Smart had an affinity with the pit ponies and his website reveals that “many a time he could be found riding them around the field with a bridle made of string and no saddle”.
His parents encouraged him to ride and the Northern show jumping circuit beckoned, where he learnt to ride all sorts of horses and ponies.
Smart left school at the age of 15 and started work for Jenny Pitman, near Lambourn, who herself was just starting out in her career as a Point to Point Trainer.
He rode a number of winners for Pitman as an amateur before turning professional. Corbiere, who would go on to win the Grand National, was one of the most notable horses he partnered. He won six races on him in his early career.
Smart also spent time working for Ken Cundell and also broke in yearlings for Paul Cole before moving to Uplands to join the great Fred Winter, whilst remaining first jockey to Pitman.
He rode many horses for Winter at home and at the racecourse. In total, he enjoyed more than 200 winners during his career which was brought to a premature end when he suffered a serious fall at Huntingdon in 1982 breaking his leg, foot and skull.
After recuperating, Smart moved to Wales where he trained point to pointers for four years.
Subsequently, he took out a full licence and, 30 years later, he is going stronger than ever.
He trains high in the Hambleton hills in Northn Yorkshire. He and his wife, Vicky, have a strong Christian faith.
‘The racing world is full of ups and downs and there is no doubt that without our faith life would be much harder when the going gets tough,” he says on his website.
Tangerine Trees, Monsieur Bond, Hellvelyn and Moviesta have been among his best horses and then, of course, there was Alpha Delphini, dramatic 40-1 winner of the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York in 2018.
Smart said: “I backed him this morning, I had a tenner each-way at 80-1 because I thought that was an insulting price.
“I knew I had him the best he’d ever been, I’d trained him for this race as it was one I’d always wanted to win. I’d told the wife months ago that he was going to be absolutely spot-on for this, he was just coming right.
“I’ve had a lot of his family, his half-brother Tangerine Trees got better with age and it looks like he is.”