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Tuesday 24 April 2018

William mourned in equine world

Pegasus

The late William Codd
The late William Codd

There was widespread shock and dismay among the equine community of County Wexford and further afield at the sudden death last Wednesday in tragic circumstances of well-known and popular trainer William Codd, Churchlands, Mayglass, at just 43 years of age.

William was from one of Wexford's best known horsey families and had excelled all his life in every aspect of equine sport, from eventing and race riding, to training and breeding. He was brother to champion track and point-to-point rider, Jamie, with whom he shared a great many successes over the years, and was son of Billy and Mary Frances.

It looked like he might have a career in eventing in his earlier days, winning the Blarney International as an 18-year-old. But he was already riding successfully between the flags for a couple of years by then and it was the point-to-pointing and racing that eventually won out.

He began riding on the Points circuit at just 16 and between 1992 and 2005 he had over 60 winners, including lifting the Eastern circuit rider's title in his best year, in 2002.

William also rode quite a few winners on the track and one of his most memorable days was winning the Champion Hunter Chase at the 2003 Punchestown Festival by a clear ten lengths on Tucker Geraghty's What Odds, with brother Jamie filling second spot on Sheltering.

The Codd family has been closely involved for many years with the popular point-to-point track at Lingstown, and William worked hard seeing all was shipshape with the course. He acted as clerk of the course for many meetings over the years.

It was entirely appropriate that his final points win as a rider was on Tenshookmen, one of his favourite horses, over the famous Lingstown banks; he also had five track wins with him and the pair of them competed at Cheltenham.

William then turned his hand to training and breeding horses and he recorded 28 wins on the track and over 60 on the point-to-point circuit. In more recent times his best track performer was Tellthemnuttin, bred by his long-time friend, Billy Devereux; this one had four of his six successes at the Bettyville track in Wexford over 2016 and '17 for the Heads or Harps Syndicate.

The bare figures don't really do justice to William's horsemanship; he had a very good eye for a horse and he produced some great horses through the point-to-point route. Probably the most famous was Tranquil Sea with whom he won his maiden on debut in 2006 and the horse went on to win over half a million euros and 13 races for Edward O'Grady before going to Warren Greatrex in Britain and finishing seventh in the Many Clouds Grand National on his final outing in 2015.

Often aided and abetted in the saddle by brother, Jamie, he achieved great prices in British sales rings for some of his four-year-old maiden winners in recent years, including Alisier D'Irelande (sold for £300,000; Tell Us More (£290,000), and Born Survivor (£220,000).

The brothers combined for what was, unfortunately, their final winner together at the point-to-point at Fairwood in Tinahely on January 14 when Bold Skies romped home in the colours of owner/breeder and long-time friend and supporter, Billy Devereux. Perhaps a nice way to finish, but it was many years too early.

Sympathy is extended to William's children, Jack and Aria; his parents Billy and Mary Frances; brother, Jamie, and sisters, Lisa and Zoe. Sadly missed also by brother-in-law, Redmond, sister-in-law, Robyn, Louise, Jean, aunts, uncles, cousins, and a wide circle of friends.

There was a huge attendance at the funeral mass at St. Fintan's Church, Mayglass, on Saturday morning, and burial took placed in the local cemetery. Donations made will be given to ASK and to the Irish Jockeys' Fund.

Wexford People