By Michael Guerin
Brendon Hill wants to provide his little mate with THAT moment at Addington tonight.
The moment everybody in New Zealand harness racing thought we might never see again, champion driver Ricky May winning a race.
When May slumped unconscious in the sulky and nearly died mid-race at Omakau in January his close friend Hill feared the worst. He wasn’t far from being right.
“I think all of us feared we might not see Ricky again that day,” says the astute Canterbury trainer.
“So to have him coming back to the races this week is something I am definitely not taking for granted. “It is going to be a special occasion and I’ll be honest, I am both nervous and excited.”
Hill and May have been to racing’s mountain top together, having combined to win two New Zealand Cups and a Miracle Mile with Monkey King.
But this is different. Those moments were racing fairytales. Ricky May, the driver back from the dead, is movie of the week stuff.
May has nine drives on the 12-race card and Hill hopes he can provide him with his first winner of his comeback night with Skippy’s Delight (race three, 5.16pm).
The big pacer slightly disappointed when run down into second last start but Hill partially blames himself, thinking a pre-race workout at Ashburton a week before may have sapped the gelding.
“He is rising four but still growing and he raced tired that night,” says Hill.
“So I am confident he will be better this time and he has the ace draw so I think he will lead or trail.
“If he doesn’t win or go very close in this race I will be scratching my head.”
Hill and May also combine with Ranger Bomb in race 11 and he has the same draw but in a slightly harder race.
“He is an under-rated horse and he can win too. So I have two good hopes for Ricky.”
Race meetings are rarely about one person and tonight also sees the return of the public to Addington post lock down, so the meeting hosts two remarkable comebacks.
But if May wins a race and his famous gold sulky cap returns again to the Addington winner’s circle he has visited more than any other driver it will be one of the most special moments in the famous racetrack’s storied history.