Day At The Track

I'm just hoping for the best for Ricky May

02:47 PM 04 Jan 2020 NZDT
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Ellie Barron
Humble hero: Quick-thinking harness star Ellie Barron went to the aid of stricken driver Ricky May.
NZ Herald Photo

By Jonny Turner

Invercargill horsewoman Ellie Barron is being hailed a hero after coming to the aid of fellow harness racing driver Ricky May when the champion reinsman collapsed during a race.

May was revived after suffering a medical event, slumping in his sulky and falling to the track when driving A G's White Socks at a Central Otago meeting.

He was in a serious but stable condition yesterday in the intensive care unit at Dunedin Hospital.

Barron was among the first to May's side after he fell. She began giving CPR on the reinsman with the help of another driver, Lawrence McCormick.

Barron is being hailed a hero by many who witnessed the incident. She was quick to deflect any praise and said her concern was for May's recovery.

"I am just hoping for the best for Ricky, it is sounding positive from all accounts. I just hope he improves, really."

Barron is a trained physiotherapist who has worked with the Southland rugby team. She credited her training for providing her with the skills to help revive May.

"He was breathing when I got there, so I was worried about his neck and head. Then we had to change plan a wee bit."

Barron also credited the paramedics and off duty medical staff that rushed out of the Omakau crowd to assist May.

"It all happened so fast – there were two doctors there in what felt like a minute, then the paramedics came."

"Everyone that could help did – it was good – but terrifying at the same time."

Ricky May is in intensive care after collapsing during a race. Photo / file
Ricky May is in intensive care after collapsing during a race. Photo / file

An intensive care paramedic played a crucial role in stabilising May, Barron said.

"She waltzed in and she was so calm and she sort of just took over. I feel like he was so lucky to have been where he was when it happened. He could have been
at home on the tractor."

May's horse, A G's White Socks, has drawn praise following Thursday's incident. The 6yr-old is known to be a slightly moody type on race days. That was evident when the horse bolted frantically back to the stables after winning a race at Oamaru in 2016.

But the horse did not panic without the control of his driver and angled wide on the track before May fell from his sulky.

The remaining horses and drivers were able to easily manoeuvre past May when the race was called off.

Canterbury driver John Dunn was driving the horse following A G's White Socks when May collapsed. He showed quick reactions to slow his horse, Heisenberg, when it was apparent May was unwell.

Courtesy of The New Zealand Herald

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