By Josh Smith – Harness News Desk
Ricky May and his golden helmet were back in the winner’s circle at Addington Raceway on Sunday in what has been a remarkable comeback.
In bone chilling scenes at Omakau in January, the champion reinsman collapsed unconscious in the sulky mid-race and came close to death.
It has been a steady return to the sulky since then and just five months after the harrowing incident he has not only returned to raceday driving, but to the winner’s circle as well.
It may have been by the barest of margins, but May was able to get the Brendon Hill-trained Oaxacan Dream up the passing lane in the Commodore Airport Hotel Mobile Pace (2600m) to nab Deja Blue on the line by a head.
The moment meant a lot to May who said he was rapt with the reception he got when he returned to the winner’s circle.
“It’s great to be back in the winner’s circle, it has been a while,” he said.
“Everyone has been great. The crowd even clapped after the race, so that was pretty cool.”
May said the win was made even more special given the fact it was for close friend Hill, who May won two Gr.1 New Zealand Cups (3200m) and a Gr.1 Miracle Mile (1609m) for with star pacer Monkey King.
“Benny is my main trainer. Between him and Laurence (Hanrahan) they have been really good friends to me,” May said.
“It was really nice to get the win for Benny. He was pretty emotional about it as well, so that was great.”
It has been a long road to recovery for May, but he said it didn’t take him long to get back out onto his farm and progress back into the cart.
“The first month to six weeks (after the incident) I had a lot of broken ribs, so it was pretty hard going. But I slowly wound into it,” he said.
“I started working on the farm when it was harvest time. I did that with a bit of help and it has gone on from there.
“I have been driving horses for the last three months at home. Then Benny and Laurence took their horses to Ashburton, so I went and drove them there. That was the start of it all.”
May was overwhelmed with the media attention he received prior to his raceday return last week and he said he is pleased to finally get that first win back on the board.
“It was a big media thing when I first started,” he said. “I had a pretty good night, but I couldn’t win a race. I didn’t think I did a lot wrong, you have just got to have a decent horse to win.”
He got the rub of the green on Sunday and he said his phone has been red hot ever since from well-wishers.
“Everybody has been great. I have received so many texts and phone calls I have got to reply to,” he said