Ray Green "feeling okay" and out of ICU
By Michael Guerin
Just two weeks after Copy That gave him the greatest victory of his training career Ray Green is in an Auckland hospital after being kicked by a horse, with his wife Deb saying “he is not out of the woods yet.”
But the remarkable 77-year-old has been moved out of Middlemore Hospital’s intensive care unit and was soon asking for his phone so he can keep tabs on his Pukekohe stable.
The enormously popular trainer was on top of the harness racing world at Addington on November 8 after Copy That defended his New Zealand Cup title, the second win meaning so much more because Green could be there after being trapped in Auckland by Covid restrictions last season.
But that dream turned to a nightmare on Monday morning when he was kicked by a filly in his stabling area, with his injuries far more serious than initially thought.
“At the time he (Ray) didn’t think it was that big a deal,” says wife Deb.
“But his blood pressure kept falling and he was getting cold, which we now know might have been because of internal bleeding.”
Green was rushed to hospital when his endured a seven-hour operation that saw part of his bowel and colon removed.
“I was most concerned by the chance of infection and also Ray having an operation at his age,” said Mrs Green.
Her concerns about her husband’s health started to ease slightly on Tuesday afternoon when he was moved from the ICU to a ward and was soon asking after on his phone.
“It wasn’t much fun but I am feeling okay,” Ray said from his hospital bed.
“It (the horse) got me right in the belly button and I reckon it knocked me back about 10 feet.
“Obviously I don’t remember anything about the operation but I have woken up with a pretty big scar and some of my colon and bowel missing so I will have to wear this bag for around three months.
“I am not sure when I will be able to go home and the doctors tell me I won’t be able to do anything physical for three months.
“But we will see how I go. I hope to be able to still go to Australia later in the summer, I might just have to find somebody to drive the horse in his fast work.”
Green is the harness trainer for huge dual-code ownership group Lincoln Farms and, after an unusual career path that has seen him also train in harness racing backwaters like Wales and England, he has a back catalogue of stories to match his impressive list of feature-race wins.
Green says the Lincoln Farms horses are in good hands and his accident won’t affect their summer aspirations.
“The horses will still be getting great care and will be aimed at the same races,” says Green.
“And I was already thinking about not spending as much time in Australia with Copy That this summer anyway, letting one of the boys look after him part of the time.
“So all that can still go ahead. But first I’ll have to get out of here and start getting up and about.”