2016 Awardee - Vanessa Veart-Smith 

Vanessa Veart-Smith of Auckland is the 2016 recipient of the Leishman Media Racing Awareness Award.

Vanessa is General Manager of a rural and equestrian Sky television channel called Country TV.  Vanessa has a strong interest in the NZ thoroughbred racing and breeding industries since a young age, having been raised up with an avid racing fan for a father.

She is now a competitive show jumper and has re-trained many thoroughbreds off the track, for the sport horse industry. Vanessa was interested in applying for this Award for many reasons, personally, professionally, and also for development for the equestrian channel.

The knowledge she has gained from Country TV as a presenter on-screen, studio and on the field, in addition as an executive producer, journalist and camera operator, has contributed to her development of a wider skillset will benefit further from this Award.

Country TV hosts the NZ Racing Hall of Fame inductee videos which are currently playing on the channel.

Vanessa's knowledge gained through this Award will assist her to promote thoroughbred racing and breeding on television in NZ and focus on creating more magazine, behind the scenes, history and personality style television shows all about racing.

Vanessa is pictured below with John Thompson of Rich Hill Stud - Matamata with his 2015 Melbourne Cup as breeder of the winner Prince of Penzance.


As part of Vanessa's scholarship work she arranged filming of the 2016 Karaka Weanling sales which was edited into the film clip below.


Vanessa was introduced to the NZ Racing Hall of Fame audience at the 2016 induction dinner. Michelle Leishman (Phil's widow) also spoke about her husband's love of racing in the video below: