Codd hits target
Mayglass man's 700th point-to-point win
Without much fanfare amidst all the national celebrations on St. Patrick's Day, Wexford jockey Jamie Codd from the famous Mayglass horsey family achieved a remarkable milestone - he rode his 700th point-to-point career winner, a mark only ever exceeded by one other rider, ten times in a row champion, Derek O'Connor.
For the record, here are the details: it was at the United Hunt (Foxhounds) meeting at Ballynoe, Co. Cork; Jamie came home two lengths clear in the five-year-old geldings' maiden race on You Say What (Milan-Wave Back), owned by Thomas O'Sullivan and trained by Denis Murphy at The Ballagh, a long-time supporter and supplier of winners to Codd.
He had a second winner on the card in the six-year-old geldings' maiden, Just for James (Massini-Over the Road), trained by Seán Aherne in Cork. To complete a memorable couple of weeks, Codd racked up his 50th for the season at the Carlow Farmers' meeting at Borris on Sunday.
It is difficult to overstate the achievements of Jamie Codd in a 15-year career - he is the reigning champion jockey, finally winning the title last year after being second to O'Connor on seven successive occasions; he has twice been the Horse Racing Ireland rider of the year, he has had four winners at the Cheltenham Festival, including his recent double, and he has ridden a grade one winner on the track, Shaneshill, for Willie Mullins in the championship bumper at Punchestown last year.
He is one of only three riders to have ridden six winners on the one card, which he did at Fairwood, Tinahely in October, 2011; this feat was previously done by fellow Wexfordman, John Berry, at Caim in 1988 and by Brian McLernon back in 1959; Berry was also the last Wexford man to be champion jockey, in 1993. Codd and Derek O'Connor are the only two men to have ridden more than one hundred winners in a point-to-point season.
The hard work and the hundreds of thousands of miles involved in Codd's achievements can be gauged from his career statistics (as taken from Richard Pugh's excellent P2P website) - he began riding in the 1999-2000 season and the 700 winners came from more than 3,160 rides, with nearly 500 seconds, and his body survived more than 280 falls that brought him broken limbs and lots of pain.
There were always horses when the 33-year-old Jamie Codd was growing up, though he is interested in all sports and loves Gaelic games which he played during his time at St. Peter's College and with his club St. Fintan's, and he supports Wexford when he can.
His brother, Willie, is a former rider and is a very well-known point-to-point handler, noted for producing and developing good young horses. Father, Billy; mother, Mary Frances, and sister, Zoe, are all involved with the Killinick Harriers and their annual race meetings at Lingstown. He enjoys being involved with brother, Willie, in the Mayglass stable, though he now lives in Kildare with his partner, Robyn O'Sullivan.
He completed his horse-riding education with five years at the famous Willie Mullins operation at Closutton, riding many winners for him.
He began riding in points in 1999 and did not enjoy instant success. He had his first points winner (Eyse) at Bramblestown in 2001.
After six years he had ridden just 42 winners from his first 420 odd rides, but then he really took off with 51 winners in his next season and he hasn't looked back since, fulfilling a major ambition by winning his first rider's title last season.
He is up against it in his bid to hold on to the title as he has to miss a few meetings in the next few weeks due to his Cheltenham suspension. However, still in his early 30s, Jamie Codd, given reasonable luck with injuries, should be at the top of the point-to-point table for quite a few years yet.