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NEXT GEN: Emily Cody

Name:  Emily Cody
Age:    20
From:  Dunnamaggin, Co. Kilkenny

20-year-old Emily Cody registered her first winner between the flags when guiding home Exit Eleven to take the Winners of One contest at Boulta.

Exit Eleven who carried the colours of Joseph Walsh was trained by the riders mother Debbie Cody.

How did you get started with horses?

I have been riding horses since I could walk really, all of my family are involved in horse racing.  My Mam, Dad, my cousins and uncles were all jockeys, so you could say it was bred into me from the start.

When I younger I was in the pony club, I did show jumping, hunting, hunter trialling, anything we could do really, we did it.

Was it always the plan to take out your Qualified Riders licence?

Yes it was definitely an aim of mine to take out my licence, I always loved speed so I said I’d give it a go.

Where are you currently working? Do you ride out for anyone else?

I am in college at the moment studying veterinary in UCD, so I only get the chance to ride out at weekends.

I ride out at home, in my uncles and I also go into Joseph O’Brien’s on the weekends.

How did you come about going into Joseph O’Brien’s?

I took a year out before starting college and worked in Joseph’s for a year.  It was a great experience.  I got to go to America and France travelling with the horses which was brilliant.

How did you find it working in such a big yard?

It was a complete shock to the system as I was only used to working in smaller yards with a handful of people and horses but in Josephs there could be 50 riding out at a time and 300 horses.

It took awhile to get used to but once you get into the swing of things it was grand.

It was great experience as everyday you are riding different horses, you have to adapt quickly and get used to them and figure out different ways of managing them.  You learn a lot in fairness, there are lot of brilliant jockeys riding out there also and you get to learn from them also.

I think I definitely improved from my year there.

You must have been delighted to get your first winner on Exit Eleven?  

I was so happy, it was great especially as it was only my ninth ride and a lot of people have to wait a lot longer, so I was very lucky to get it so soon.

He is owned by a man called Joseph Walsh from Mullinavat, we actually had the horse about two years ago just to get him fit before he went back on the track. I hadn’t my licence out at this stage but I used to ride him out all of the time and I loved him.  

I used to say I would love to get the opportunity to ride him some day but I never actually thought I would get the chance.

Joseph very kindly let me ride him and I am very lucky to get to ride a horse as nice as him.

He had been knocking on the door finishing second on his two previous runs you must have been a little confident?

We were hoping that he’d win soon enough, so it was great it worked out.

Were any of your family there to see your big win on Sunday?

My Mam, Dad and sister were there my brother wasn’t there he was at home.  It was great to have them there on the day.

You had your first ride aboard Cheltenham Festival winner Killultagh Vic, that must have been some feeling?

We were unlucky last year, he had his first run at Mainstown where he finished fifth, we were about to run him the second time when the coronavirus hit so I was disappointed I only got to ride him the once.

Touchwood now he will run this week at Ballindenisk, so hopefully he will give me a good spin.

He is in good form and hopefully he might give me another win this season.  

Who would have been your biggest influence in racing?

Rachael Blackmore, I just think she’s unreal, she’s such a good rider, she’s just as good as all the lads and she’s so brave.

She gets some hard falls and literally just bounces back up again.

I have met her a few times when I have been riding on the track and she has been so nice.  She would always give you tips about the track, how to ride it and she would help you any way she could.

What are your ambitions for remainder of the season?

Ideally I would love to win the ladies title, I know only have one winner but I would just love to win it but sure you never know!

Do you have any other interests outside of racing?

I play gaelic football with my local club Dunnamaggin, I do a bit of running as well but veterinary in UCD is really taking up most of time and where my real interest is.

I can’t let you go without asking you about Ireland’s Fittest Family, how did you find the experience?

It was unreal, I’m the one who dragged my whole family into it. They weren’t too willing at the start but once they got into it they really enjoyed it.

When I was watching it on tv you’d say that looks fair tough but when you’re actually doing it, it’s extremely tough! But it was a great experience, it really pushes you to your limits, it was great to do something as a family and Davy Fitz was an unreal coach to have.  He really pushes and urges you on!

My brother was a little dinger, he was the real hero and made a show of us all.  He was only 14 turning 15 when the programme was on, it was some performance from him.

When your pushed to your absolute limit you need each other to keep you going and encourage one another at one stage Paddy my brother was saying ‘I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I’m going to drop the log’, and I was shouting ‘do not let go of the log!’

It was just such a good experience to do something like that with my family.

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