Harness racing driver showed no signs of life for 20 minutes

Ricky May drives Terror to Love at the New Zealand Trotting Cup at Addington Raceway in 2012....
Ricky May drives Terror to Love at the New Zealand Trotting Cup at Addington Raceway in 2012. Photo: John Davidson / Photosport
Top harness racing driver Ricky May is reportedly in a stable condition in hospital after collapsing in the sulky while leading the main race at Omakau in Central Otago on Thursday.

A Dunedin hospital spokesperson told Radio New Zealand on Friday that he was now in a serious but stable condition in the intensive care unit, while pundit Andrew Fitzgerald shared the May family had confirmed Ricky was in a stable condition but were not yet sure what caused the medical event.

May was stabilised and flown to Dunedin Hospital by air ambulance after suffering a medical event while driving race favourite A G's White Socks in the Central Otago Cup at 4.11pm.

May fell back in the sulky while the horse continued to race. He then fell onto the track before race officials and medics rushed to his aid. The race was called off as medical staff and racegoers tended to May.

Racing writer Garrick Knight wrote on Twitter that May showed no sign of life for "as long as 20 minutes" before he was revived, Stuff has reported.

Stipendiary steward Vinny Munro, the former rugby referee, said May had suffered a "medical event".

An announcement was made to the crowd of approximately 5000 racegoers that May was in a "stable, but very critical" condition, the Otago Daily Times reported.

Just before midnight, members of the racing community in touch with May's family said he was in a stable condition, though he remains in hospital undergoing treatment.

Rural sports commentator Craig Wiggins said no diagnosis had yet been confirmed. But in a social media post, he said he had spoken to May's family and said there was a "positive outlook at this stage".

Munro praised the work of the people who rushed to May's aid, which included two off-duty doctors.

The meeting was abandoned after drivers and trainers were consulted.

"Due to the condition of those people, health and safety is paramount, and we have called the meeting off," Munro told Trackside.

Methven-based May is one of New Zealand's most successful and experience harness racing drivers, having won seven New Zealand Cups.

He is most widely known for his work with three-time New Zealand Cup champion Terror to Love but has won almost 3000 races during a career spanning more than 40 years.