JAMES Moffatt paid tribute to “amazing horse” Smart Ruler following the death of the long-standing Pit Farm Stables inmate on Monday afternoon.

The 12-year-old was pulled up by jockey Henry Brooke three out in the 1.45 at Musselburgh, having led while turning into the straight, but collapsed soon after due to suffering a heart attack.

Smart Ruler had been with the Cartmel handler since May 2011 and was much-loved by all the staff at Moffatt’s base, with the trainer hailing him as a particularly special member of his string.

“We bought him for £2,000, we gave him three or four months off to strengthen up and he’s been an amazing horse for us, and we’re very, very fond of him,” said Moffatt.

“He was a very gentle, kind horse who never hurt anyone – he never kicked, he never bit, never dropped anyone and never did anything like that.

“He was part of the family and we love all of horses, but every now and then you get one like that who comes along, and he’d been with us so long. He was a nice person.”

Moffatt and Smart Ruler enjoyed many memorable moments together since his first run for the former jumps jockey in a maiden hurdle at Musselburgh in January 2012.

Moffatt and Smart Ruler enjoyed plenty of memorable moments together since he made his bow for the former National Hunt jockey in a maiden hurdle at Musselburgh in January 2012.

His first win in Moffatt's charge came at his home course with Sir Tony McCoy in the saddle in July 2013, with the pair teaming up again the following month to record victory at Sedgefield.

Smart Ruler won the Cartmel Cup for Moffatt in 2014 too and chalked up victory in a £24,000 handicap at Musselburgh in the same year, both wins coming with Brian Hughes as jockey.

There were other stand-out moments too such as placing third in a Flat race at Catterick under Paul Mulrennan and being Barrow conditional jockey Charlotte Jones' first ride under rules.

But mostly, Smart Ruler will be particularly remembered at Pit Farm Stables for his personality.

“My little boy is two-and-a-half years old and I think one day I even plonked him on his back one day and held him in the stable – he was a real gentleman,” said Moffatt.

“In racing, an awful lot of it today is geared up about the betting industry and, I'll be quite frank, I don't have an interest in it whatsoever, and neither do my staff and owners.

“We love horses, we love being around them and working with them, and we'll never apologise for thinking the most of a horse who was very close to our hearts.”