Rugby and Racing: An interview with broadcasting legend Grant Nisbett
Photo credit: Stephen Barker/ Photosport
Broadcasting legend Grant Nisbett will be trading rugby for racing when he commentates the El Roca Sir Colin Meads Trophy at the upcoming Tarzino Trophy TAB Daffodil Raceday, alongside Ian Smith. We sat down with Grant to discuss rugby, racing and raising money for a cause very close to his heart.
What drew you to sports broadcasting?
I was a bit lucky really. As a youngster, I was set to go to Otago University but my neighbour knew Sir Lance Cross and arranged for me to get an interview at NZBC (New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation), as I was mad on sports! I got the job and started in sports radio.
What is the greatest match you’ve ever called?
There’s been a few but I'd have to say the 1996 series-clinching win over the Springboks in Pretoria. It was the first time the All Blacks had beaten the Springboks in a full-scale test series in South Africa.
Who is the greatest All Black you’ve seen?
I’ve seen some great players over the years. Carter and McCaw both stood out but I think the best was Christian Cullen. He was able to swing a game and had an uncanny ability to score trys. He had every attribute you need from a good player.
How did you become involved in racing?
In the early days of radio, I did racing as part of my job. When I joined TVNZ in the mid-90s, I used to do racing with the late Phillip Leishman. I’ve also always had the odd horse around the place, mainly thoroughbreds but I’ve owned some harness horses too. I worked at the TAB and used to do some night shifts on Trackside.
What is your fondest racing memory?
I was at the Melbourne Cup in 1983 when Kiwi won. He came from last on the turn and it was an incredible effort. Plus I backed him at 14 to 1, which was also pretty good!
What does the Daffodil Raceday initiative mean to you?
It’s pretty close to my heart because my wife died of cancer. I’ve just finished doing dry July to raise money for cancer also. I think it’s a fantastic cause.
What are you most looking forward to on Tarzino Trophy TAB Daffodil Raceday?
Smithy and I will enjoy ourselves. We both enjoy horse racing and it's a great opportunity to work at a raceday. We’re just doing the one race but it is a listed which is fairly important!
Catch Grant at the upcoming Tarzino Trophy TAB Daffodil Raceday 31 August.