Horse Racing

Oakbank Racing Club legend John Glatz, who almost lost his life in the bushfires last year, has returned to the track

OAKBANK Racing Club legend John Glatz claimed it “was great to be back” at the Hills track on Sunday, his first race meeting since devastating bushfires almost claimed his life in December.

Describing his health as reasonable, Glatz said he really enjoyed the day with wife Merri and everyone was relaxed and having a good time.

“I just had to be careful, there are lots of dressings so I am susceptible to picking up things,” he said. “I had to try and separate myself as much as possible.

“It has been a bad 18 months for Oakbank, not being able to race. We were allowed 1000 people on course and to see everyone rock up on Sunday was great.”

Glatz had not been to a race meeting since his gelding Turf Tapper, now trained by Shayne Cahill, ran at Murray Bridge on December 11. Just nine days later, he suffered burns to 60 per cent of his body fighting the fires at his Woodside property.

For 10 days he lay in a coma. It was five months before he left hospital. There are still the twice a week visits from nurses, and weekly trips to Royal Adelaide Hospital.

“Apart from that, it is good,” Glatz said.

Glatz had not missed a committee meeting for 35 years and until retiring in 2016, he had been chairman at Oakbank for 25 years.

He got the opportunity to attend Sunday’s eight-race meeting after it had been transferred from Mt Gambier, were racing has been suspended due to weed infestation.

“I was worried when they announced the date, the weather at Oakbank in September is so touchy,” Glatz said. “But the track held up very well.

“Now we have the twilight meeting on December 23 and it will be a great day.”

Originally published asOakbank legend back on track

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