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Leslie Smart, a prominent administrator of harness racing in Canterbury since the early 1940s, died recently in Christchurch. He was 87. Mr Smart became a steward of the Canterbury Park Club in 1946, was appointed vice-president in 1958 and president in 1960.
Later on he served on the Addington Board of Directors. He was made chairman in 1963 and held that position until 1966. He was made a life member of the Canterbury Park Club in 1968 and an honorary steward in 1971.
Mr Smart was one of the directors who favoured introducing the hub rail at Addington in 1963, which was a controversial decision at he time. He was also instrumental in introducing mobile starts to Addington and his own club led the way when the used the mobile barrier for the first time in the South Island in May 1962.
Mr Smart was a member of a family of contractors who built many roads in and around Christchurch when draught horses were still being used as the main source of power. The Smart family used a big team of draught horses and Mr Smart's son, Lewis, who is the current president of the Canterbury Park Trotting Club, said that his father had been badly kicked by one of his favourite draught horses once when he was feeding them. The kick dislodged one of Mr Smart's teeth which ended up in his lungs, where it remained for 30 years before he eventually decided to have it removed. However, as it turned out, surgery was not necessary because, just prior to the operation, Mr Smart coughed up the troublesome tooth.
Mr Smart was an accomplished horseman. He kept a number of show horses, saddle horses and ponies and was a successful exhibitor and judge. He was also a prominent owner of standardbreds and raced a number of good horses - mostly trotters - including Ali Bey who was trained for him by the late George Noble, Lady Baffelan, Cappy Rowan, Supervise, Superway and Super Cloud, all of whom were trained for him by Wes Butt.
Mr Smart also breed the fine mare Smart Lass (by U Scott from Lady Baffelan), whose daughters, in particular Moods (dam of Master Mood among others) and Smart Doll (dam of Smarty Pants and others), are now making their mark as broodmares.
Mr Smart is survived by two daughters, Mrs Marie Spears and Mrs Julie Jamieson, and two sons, Lewis and Kevin.
Credit: Shelley Caldwell writing in NZ Trot Calendar 23Jul85