The remarkable comeback of Ricky May, the champion harness racing driver who 'died'

Ricky May drives Utmost Delight (13) to victory. Photo / Harness News
Ricky May drives Utmost Delight (13) to victory. Photo / Harness News

Ricky May, the champion harness racing driver who "died" on the racetrack in January, completes his remarkable comeback by returning to racing at Addington on Friday night.

And while the modern-day Lazarus says while his doctors have told him to simply get on with life, he admits he is nervous.

"Now I have my clearance to come back and it is becoming a reality I am a bit nervous," says May.

"Almost like driving in a New Zealand Cup, except this is just a winter meeting.

"But once I get out there I am sure the competitive juices will kick in and take over," says the 62-year-old.

May is one of the most successful horse people in the history of New Zealand racing but shocked the racing world when he collapsed and fell from the sulky when leading the major race of the day on A G's White Socks at Omakau in Central Otago on January 2.

May's heart had stopped suddenly, his official diagnosis was hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy.

It is a sometimes genetic condition that can see the heart muscles thicken even though the heart itself is healthy, even affecting young athletes at the peak of their physical prowess.

May was in shape and very active. He had no warning of what could happen and seconds before the incident was talking normally.

Then he slumped in the sulky, fell to the track and the racing world feared the worst.

A rival driver Ellie Barron, a qualified physiotherapist, performed CPR on May but his heart had stopped. Doctors later told him he may have been dead for 10min.

 

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