“They asked me if I’d like to stop off anywhere on the way,” Nigel Latham said in an exclusive interview with 7News.
“I had been watching the racing in hospital, so wanted to go there.”
Wishing to spend one last afternoon trackside watching the horse-racing, ambulance officer Bec Sanders and colleague Laura took the 58-year-old to Morphettville in Adelaide.
“In normal circumstances, I would’ve been there for a great day of racing,” Nigel said.
“I’ve been a member of the South Australian Jockey Club for the last three years and own shares in a couple of horses.
“Bec and Laura worked miracles and got me there. They are commended for their care and sheer goodness of spirit.”
Craig Williams, a jockey who won the Melbourne Cup in 2019, became emotional when he heard Nigel was there, and pledged a pair of goggles as a gift to the dying man.
However, after riding Lady Dunmore to victory, he rode over to the couple and gifted his winning goggles instead.
“Nigel Latham, he was the inspiration for her success today,” Williams explained.
“To Nigel, I said to my horse if she’d get over the line, we’d make sure we give him the winning goggles, and she did her job really well.
“He passed Nigel at the 200-metre mark, and really kicked in, and just got it by a nose, I believe,” said Bec, remarking on the fantastic last push to win the race by Williams and Lady Dunmore.
“Everything just fell really into place. We got [Nigel] at the 200-metre mark, trackside, and he got to watch the last two races of the day.”
Nigel got to watch on as every jockey rode up to say hello following the race, offering their respects to the loyal racing fan.
Calling the day one of the most memorable experiences of his life, Nigel was also delivered a beer by another race-goer who saw him and wanted to make his day more special.
“People are amazing,” he said.
“Thanks to Bec and Laura for making it happen, to Ian [Ricardo, Morphettville track manager] for facilitating it. For Matt for the beer and for Craig for caring so much.
“It was a brilliant, memorable experience with my wife by my side.”
Exhausted but happy, Nigel arrived home on a “really big high” after his last day at the races.
“It was really lovely to see him home and happy,” Bec told 7News.