The NZ Racing Hall of Fame Board has recognised that many mainstream media journalists and aspiring journalists do not have an awareness of the NZ racing and breeding industries, so it has set up the bi-annual Leishman Media Racing Awareness Award, which has as its objective “to improve the awareness of mainstream media people in the NZ horse breeding and racing industries”.
The award provides the awardee with a practical exposure to the NZ racing and breeding industries which, will enable them to present the bloodstock industry in an informative manner during their future media career.
The Award was set up in the name of HOF inaugural director – the late Phillip Leishman OMNZ who was an established international media journalist and had a life-long interest in horse racing.
Chair - Cherry Taylor noted, “I am pleased to announce that Louis Herman-Watt of Radio Sport is the 2020 Awardee and he follows in the path of previous Awardees who have all carved out interesting careers in NZ media, namely Indie Leishman (who is a journalist/presenter with TV1), Vanessa Peart-Smith (Country TV) and Guy Heveldt (of TV1 Sports). Louis is the first Awardee from NZ radio and he impressed the judging panel with his enthusiasm and work to date on racing stories.”
Louis is executive producer of the highly-rated “Daniel McHardy Afternoons” show on Radio Sport and he has a passion for all things sports and racing.
Louis noted that “From the beginning of my time at Radio Sport I knew racing was a sport I wanted to highlight. I was aware it had not had much of a chance in recent years. Luckily for me, my arrival at Radio Sport coincided with Winx becoming as famous as any athlete in this part of the world. Chris Waller - the Kiwi training success story was a great way to start integrating more racing content on air. Since then, we have covered tens of great Kiwi racing stories on our show. Speaking with key trainers, jockeys, figures and pundits of the industry.
It was through my coverage of racing stories on Radio Sport that I met Luke Kemeys and Ben Masters of Boys Get Paid. We shared common ideology and thoughts about the lack of interest from young people in a sport which really is in many ways, tailored for us. After staying in touch and sharing more ideas about what can be done, we launched our own podcast updating listeners and punters of the main storylines happening in New Zealand racing.
That leads to the here and now where I've never been more interested in and educated about racing. I know there is so much more I can learn about this great sport and the people involved and I also know I have the skillset and motivation to share the stories of those people and the sport they love so dearly. I see it every day, average sports fans who would love to know and follow the successes of Melody Belle, Catalyst or Jamie Richards & James McDonald. For some reason there is a broken link in the chain, I want to help start to fix that and take racing to everyone.
It's a sport that deserves a better chance.”
Louis is looking forward to meeting many participants in the NZ bloodstock and plans to be at the Karaka Yearling Sales later this month.