Tag Archive for: Jamie Codd

Patrick Mullins contemplating professional move for Cheltenham

Patrick Mullins has not dismissed the prospect of turning professional after amateur riders were ruled out of next month’s Cheltenham Festival.

A ruling was made in January that amateurs would be temporarily prevented from competing under rules because of an ongoing rise in Covid-19 infections in Britain.

The move was made by the racing industry’s Covid-19 steering group, which constantly reviews coronavirus protocols to determine how racing can continue to strengthen its approach.

The group said at the time it had reached its decision because it “is in line with Government restrictions around the definition of elite sport and the associated suspension of grassroots sport”.

The four-day Festival begins on March 16, and in his road map unveiled on Monday for exiting lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined a date of March 29 for the resumption of grassroots sport.

Patrick Mullins in action aboard Sharjah
Patrick Mullins in action aboard Sharjah (Niall Carson/PA)

Three races at the Festival are confined to amateurs – the National Hunt Chase, Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap Chase and the St James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase.

The most successful amateur of all-time, Mullins could have expected to have a strong book of rides for his father Willie Mullins, including Sharjah in the Unibet Champion Hurdle, Kilcruit in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper and Billaway in the hunter chase.

Mullins – who has four Festival winners to his name to date – said: “I’m very disappointed with the news.”

Asked whether he could consider switching to the professional ranks, he added: “I don’t know. I will have to give very serious thought to whether I turn professional or not.”

Derek O’Connor has also ridden four Festival winners and is the most successful Irish point-to-point rider of all-time.

​He said: “I would have hoped to have picked up rides in all the amateur races, and obviously it’s disappointing – but it’s just unfortunate.

Derek O’Connor is a four-time Cheltenham Festival winner
Derek O’Connor is a four-time Cheltenham Festival winner (Nigel French/PA)

“I suppose the most important thing is the Festival going ahead. If this is a small, little help to getting the Festival to go ahead trouble-free, it’s not a big ask.

“I hope we’ll be able to be back for Aintree, which is quite important as well. The hunter chases would be the biggest loss because those are the races that are most associated with amateur riders – the hunter chase in Cheltenham and the hunter chase in Aintree. Hopefully things will have settled down a bit by the time we get round to Aintree.

“I’ll have been going to Cheltenham for 17 or 18 years, but I’ll be sat at home watching it on the television this year. Hopefully the meeting can go ahead trouble-free, and with no bad press, which is very important.”

Fellow Irish rider Jamie Codd numbers 10 Festival winners on his CV, and was set to partner leading Champion Bumper contender Sir Gerhard for Gordon Elliott.

He said: “For us qualified riders in Ireland, and the amateurs in England, it’s a huge blow.

Jamie Codd knows all about winning at Cheltenham
Jamie Codd knows all about winning at Cheltenham (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“Cheltenham is where we really like to be competing and showcasing our status. It’s hugely disappointing, but the UK Government have their decision made and fingers crossed we can all get back for the hunter chase in Aintree.

“We’re in strange times, so we just have to dust ourselves off and there’s a lot of people worse off than us – that’s the way you have to look at it.

“With the restrictions that are in place, I don’t think I’ll be travelling over. We’ll probably sit at home and cheer Gordon’s horses on from there.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve missed Cheltenham and it’s been a very lucky hunting ground for me, but that’s the way it is and we’ll have to put up with it.”

The British point-to-point season has been suspended since January 4, but could resume on March 29.

Peter Wright, who is CEO of the Point-to-Point Authority in Britain, told Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast: “Sadly, I think we have to accept the Government position, therefore there will be no amateur riding under rules until (March 29), unless there is a sudden change of heart by Government, but I don’t think that is likely.”

A spokesperson for the British Horseracing Authority said: “We would love to see amateurs able to ride again as soon as possible and will be working with DCMS, as we have throughout the pandemic, to ensure that happens.”

Amateurs will sit out Cheltenham Festival

Amateur riders will be missing from next month’s Cheltenham Festival.

A ruling was made in January that amateurs would be temporarily prevented from competing under rules because of an ongoing rise in Covid-19 infections in Britain.

The move was made by the racing industry’s Covid-19 steering group, which constantly reviews coronavirus protocols to determine how racing can continue to strengthen its approach.

The group said at the time it had reached its decision because it “is in line with Government restrictions around the definition of elite sport and the associated suspension of grassroots sport”.

Amateur rider Sam Waley-Cohen won the Gold Cup aboard Long Run in 2011
Amateur rider Sam Waley-Cohen won the Gold Cup aboard Long Run in 2011 (David Davies/PA)

The four-day Festival begins on March 16, and in his road map unveiled on Monday for exiting lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined a date of March 29 for the resumption of grassroots sport.

Three races at the Festival are confined to amateurs – the National Hunt Chase, Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap Chase and the St James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase.

Derek O’Connor has ridden four Cheltenham Festival winners and is the most successful Irish point-to-point rider of all-time.

​He said: “I would have hoped to have picked up rides in all the amateur races, and obviously it’s disappointing – but it’s just unfortunate.

Derek O’Connor is a four-time Cheltenham Festival winner
Derek O’Connor is a four-time Cheltenham Festival winner (Nigel French/PA)

“I suppose the most important thing is the Festival going ahead. If this is a small, little help to getting the Festival to go ahead trouble-free, it’s not a big ask.

“I hope we’ll be able to be back for Aintree, which is quite important as well. The hunter chases would be the biggest loss because those are the races that are most associated with amateur riders – the hunter chase in Cheltenham and the hunter chase in Aintree. Hopefully things will have settled down a bit by the time we get round to Aintree.

“I’ll have been going to Cheltenham for 17 or 18 years, but I’ll be sat at home watching it on the television this year. Hopefully the meeting can go ahead trouble-free, and with no bad press, which is very important.”

Fellow Irish rider Jamie Codd has 10 Festival winners to his name, and was set to partner Weatherbys Champion Bumper favourite Sir Gerhard for Gordon Elliott.

He said: “For us qualified riders in Ireland, and the amateurs in England, it’s a huge blow.

Jamie Codd knows all about winning at Cheltenham
Jamie Codd knows all about winning at Cheltenham (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“Cheltenham is where we really like to be competing and showcasing our status. It’s hugely disappointing, but the UK Government have their decision made and fingers crossed we can all get back for the hunter chase in Aintree.

“We’re in strange times, so we just have to dust ourselves off and there’s a lot of people worse off than us – that’s the way you have to look at it.

“With the restrictions that are in place, I don’t think I’ll be travelling over. We’ll probably sit at home and cheer Gordon’s horses on from there.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve missed Cheltenham and it’s been a very lucky hunting ground for me, but that’s the way it is and we’ll have to put up with it.”

The British point-to-point season has been suspended since January 4, but could resume on March 29.

Peter Wright, who is CEO of the Point-to-Point Authority in Britain, told Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast: “Sadly, I think we have to accept the Government position, therefore there will be no amateur riding under rules until (March 29), unless there is a sudden change of heart by Government, but I don’t think that is likely.”

A spokesperson for the British Horseracing Authority said: “We would love to see amateurs able to ride again as soon as possible and will be working with DCMS, as we have throughout the pandemic, to ensure that happens.”

The Big Dog strikes chasing gold in Grand National Trial

The Big Dog opened his account over fences after coming out on top in a thrilling climax to the Punchestown Grand National Trial.

Peter Fahey’s charge had been placed in his first three completed starts in novice company over the larger obstacles, most recently finishing third when a hot favourite at Navan last month.

Entering handicap company for the first time since his hurdling days, The Big Dog was the 5-2 market leader for Punchestown’s 80,000 euro feature, with top amateur Jamie Codd in the saddle.

The eight-year-old travelled with more zest than many of his rivals for much of the three-and-a-half-mile journey and looked likely to win comfortably after kicking clear rounding the home turn.

However, Screaming Colours finished to good effect in the testing conditions and made The Big Dog pull out all the stops to claim victory by half a length.

Fahey said: “His runs in all his beginners’ (chases) were good after coming back from a year off. I’m delighted for the Kellys (owners), as they are huge racing supporters and its great for them to win a good pot.

“He’ll tip away in good handicaps and see how it goes. He’s lairy and you have to make plenty of use of him, which is tricky in beginners’ chases as when you force it in front, he’s losing ground jumping.

“His jumping was brilliant today until he took it up and he just looks around.”

Considering future targets, the trainer added: “If the ground was heavy we might think about the Irish Grand National, but he’ll probably need to go up a bit in the weights to get into it. We’ll see when the time comes.”

Sir Gerhard enhances Cheltenham claims

Sir Gerhard strengthened his position as ante-post favourite for the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival with an impressive display in the BetVictor Flash Cashback “Future Champions” Flat Race at Navan.

A £400,000 purchase for Cheveley Park Stud after winning his only start in the point-to-point field, the five-year-old made the perfect start for his new connections when scoring by 14 lengths on his bumper debut at Down Royal in late October.

Stepping up to Listed class for a race his trainer Gordon Elliott and jockey Jamie Codd had previously combined to win with the top-class pair of Samcro (2016) and Envoi Allen (2018), Sir Gerhard was the 4-9 favourite and got the job done with relative ease.

His task appeared far from straightforward beforehand, with Letsbeclearaboutit having looked a top-class bumper horse in his own right in winning at Tipperary and Punchestown.

Gavin Cromwell’s charge cut out much of the running under champion amateur Patrick Mullins, but was ultimately no match for Sir Gerhard, who took over inside the final two furlongs and passed the post with four and a half lengths in hand.

Codd said: “His work has been really good at home. You are always slightly concerned when you get to Navan in December with the ground, but he handled it. Good horses tend to handle it and he was very good.

“We’re delighted with him and we’ll roll on into the spring now.

Jamie Codd aboard Envoi Allen after winning the Champion Bumper
Jamie Codd aboard Envoi Allen after winning the Champion Bumper (Paul Harding/PA)

“His pedigree suggests he’ll be better on a bit of nicer ground, being by Jeremy.

“He’s a very nice horse.”

Betfair cut the winner to 11-4 from 4-1 for the Champion Bumper in March.

Reputations at stake as Holymacapony takes on elders at Navan

Holymacapony puts his unbeaten record and tall reputation on the line in the BetVictor Make Your Best Bet Novice Hurdle at Navan on Friday.

The winning point-to-pointer could hardly have been more impressive on his hurdling debut for Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore at Punchestown last month.

The four-year-old, who carries the Monalee and Minella Indo colours of owner Barry Maloney, faces his elders for the first time at Grade Two level.

Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore are a formidable combination
Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore are a formidable combination (PA)

De Bromhead said: “He’s in great form. He won his maiden hurdle nicely at Punchestown, so this seemed like the right step forward for him.

“We’ll see where we are after Friday.”

Champion trainer Willie Mullins has won a race formerly known as the Navan Novice Hurdle on a record seven occasions – and this year relies upon the brilliant Envoi Allen’s half-brother Fighter Allen, who also won at Punchestown last month.

Gordon Elliott has a couple of contenders in Fakiera and Eskylane – while Gavin Cromwell’s Gabynako, Jessica Harrington’s Ashdale Bob and the Noel Meade-trained Lieutenant Command complete the field.

The most valuable race on the card is the 40,000 euro BetVictor Gamble Responsibly Tara Handicap Hurdle, in which King Alex bids to make it four from four this season for owner-trainer Barry Connell.

Connell said: “He’s in good form and has already won around Navan this season. I think he’ll handle the track and the ground, and hopefully he’s the one to beat in the race.

“He has a nice racing weight of 11 stone, so we’ll hope for the best.”

Thereisnodoubt (Shane Crawley), Lord Erskine (Harry Rogers) and It Could Be You (Tom Mullins) are among King Alex’s rivals.

Letsbeclearaboutit winning at Punchestown
Letsbeclearaboutit winning at Punchestown (Niall Carson/PA)

It could be argued that the most intriguing contest of the afternoon is the concluding BetVictor Flash Cashback “Future Champions” Flat Race, which stages a fascinating clash between the hugely exciting pair Letsbeclearaboutit and Sir Gerhard.

Cromwell’s Letsbeclearaboutit has looked every inch a top-class prospect in winning each of his two starts under champion amateur Patrick Mullins, who is again on board.

Elliott’s £400,000 purchase Sir Gerhard is already a best-priced 4-1 favourite for the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham following a 14-length romp on his rules debut at Down Royal under Jamie Codd, who has previously claimed this Listed prize aboard Samcro and Envoi Allen.

Codd said: “Letsbeclearaboutit and Sir Gerhard look like the two leading bumper horses in Ireland this year, so it will be interesting.

“I’m really looking forward to taking him (Letsbeclearaboutit) on. Sir Gerhard is in great form, and I wouldn’t be swapping him at this stage anyway – he’s a lovely horse.

“We’ll know a bit more on Friday.”