Quite the day to pick a winner at Wingatui

Nick Svensen (front) enjoys the dual code race day at Wingatui with friends (from left) Ben...
Nick Svensen (front) enjoys the dual code race day at Wingatui with friends (from left) Ben Ruffle, of Auckland, Joe Ringrose, of Kapiti, Ben Grimstone, of Auckland and Baxter Hunt, of Auckland, (all 19). Photos by Craig Baxter.
The maiden pacers head for home at the end of their 2200m race.
The maiden pacers head for home at the end of their 2200m race.
The rating 75 gallopers approach the finish line at the end of their 1200m sprint.
The rating 75 gallopers approach the finish line at the end of their 1200m sprint.
Brenda Cameron (left) and her mother Shirley Parsons, both of Portobello, try to keep tabs on the...
Brenda Cameron (left) and her mother Shirley Parsons, both of Portobello, try to keep tabs on the horses as they run down the back straight.
Renata Viglioni and Andrew Bird, of Dunedin, celebrate a winning punt.
Renata Viglioni and Andrew Bird, of Dunedin, celebrate a winning punt.
Burt Johnston, of Dunedin, sorts the wheat from the chaff before choosing a horse at the dual...
Burt Johnston, of Dunedin, sorts the wheat from the chaff before choosing a horse at the dual code race day at Wingatui Racecourse yesterday.

Can an electric wheelchair keep up with a trotting horse? Nick Svensen can confirm, the answer to that particular question is: ''No''.

The 19-year-old University of Otago law and commerce student ''bunked'' law lectures yesterday to test his hypothesis at the Otago Anniversary dual code race day at Wingatui.

And even though he gave himself a 50m head start on the home straight, the horses caught him within 20m, he said.

The loss did not seem to lower Mr Svensen's spirits. In fact, he was revelling in the day's activities.

''We decided to bunk lectures. Today was too good an opportunity to pass up.

''We all love horse racing and this is a better thing to do than spend the day inside playing PlayStation.''

He and his flatmates were having such a good time, they were left wondering how to tell their landlord they did not have enough money to pay the rent this week.

''We've blown it all on the races,'' he said.

The Aucklander has multicore myopathy, an inability to generate muscle tissue, which has kept him in a wheelchair for most of his life.

He said when he was born he was one of only about 50 people in the world who had been diagnosed with the condition.

Mr Svensen was one of an estimated 800 people who attended the race day, which included an unusual mixture of trots and gallops.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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