Horse racing is different things to different people, and for Vanessa Gleeson a day at the track is all about treating yourself.

Next week Vanessa will experience one of her biggest racing treats ever when she steps out as Toowoomba Turf Club’s Face Of Weetwood for 2021.

Vanessa will represent the club as the Face during it’s biggest annual racing spectacular, culminating in the September 25 Audi Centre Toowoomba Weetwood race day.

Her role will be a huge step away from her daily routine and comfort zone. But for the wife of Jacob and mother of Charlie (5) and Harry (2), she couldn’t think of many better ways to spend her week.

“I’m very excited about the week ahead,” Vanessa said.

“To be given this role is a real honour and privilege. I can’t wait to be a part of Toowoomba’s big event.”

Melbourne-born Vanessa has a close connection to horses and racing. Her husband’s Chinchilla-based family has a long association with thoroughbreds, and country racing in particular.

Gleeson Thoroughbred Connections bred gelding Rothfire, a $10,000 purchase who is now one of Queensland’s most exciting gallopers.

“I love getting to the races, especially when we have horses racing, or for a function,” Vanessa said.

“I like to enjoy the whole experience. Whenever I have a punt, it is usually a good day or a terrible day. I base my selections on the types, the colours and names – and sometimes the numbers. I enjoy having some bubbles in my hand too!

“I think when you go to the races – especially coming from Melbourne – it’s all about treating yourself and enjoying all the things you love doing but don’t normally get the chance to do otherwise.

“Clifford Park is an absolutely fantastic venue.

“The Clive Berghofer Grande Atrium and front grass area are tremendous facilities and the catering is first class.

“It’s nice to have the support of so many local people as well for the week.

“Claire Greenhill has designed my Weetwood-day outfit and Brooke Marjoribanks, a former Face Of Weetwood, is my milliner.

“For the rest of the year I’m a stay-at-home mother which is special, but I’m looking forward to something completely different next week, meeting new and interesting people.

“Hopefully others will take the opportunity to come up and say hello.

“People are already calling me Mrs Weetwood,” Vanessa laughed.

By Glen McCullough