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A 21st Birthday To Remember


Published: September 5, 2011 9:30 am ET

Last Comment: September 6, 2011 3:18 pm ET | 3 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Cody Henry celebrated his 21st birthday in a big way on August 21 at Rideau Carleton Raceway. Not only did he score his first driving win, but he scored his first three en route to securing the junior division Coville Cup title.

Competing against James Bailey, Ryan Breadner, Jamie Hay, Krissy Hie, Tom Lindsay, Nicholas Oakes, Clarke Steacy and Jack Waples in the junior division over a sloppy track rated five seconds slow, Henry earned the first victory of his career aboard seven-year-old Aces N Sevens gelding Vanz Kant Danz, winning by six lengths in 1:59.1 for trainer-owner Jacques Bourgon.

“I got away second and I had the favourite,” said Henry, recalling the milestone win. “The guy on the front kept looking over because his horse wasn’t staying on the bit so I pulled first up. I thought it could either be a smart move or dumb move, but I pulled out with the favourite to retake the front and he let me go. I cut it out after that and I kept him alert down the stretch. It was a nice win. It was either a smart or dumb move and it turned out to be a smart move.”

Henry also guided six-year-old Kadabra son Devils Magic to the gelding’s first victory of the season in 2:03.1 by three-quarters of a length for trainer Frank Edwards and three-year-old Royal Mattjesty gelding Brief Bliss to a four and a half length triumph in 2:00.3 for Jamie Copley.

The purpose of the tournament is to showcase young reinsmen who are trying to further their driving careers but have yet to drive an abundance of horses. Henry, who had just embarked on his driving career this summer and entered the card with only four pari-mutuel starts to his credit, was hoping to follow in the footsteps of his older brother Travis, who won the 2010 Coville Cup and beat out Darrell Coville himself in the Rookie Vs. Champ Driver Challenge.

“When I first saw my brother win it last year I was just hoping to go in it and do the same thing,” said Henry of his expectations entering the tournament. “But when I went online and I saw the odds of my horses I was just hoping to pick up a couple of cheques with each one and just do my best. I did and I went above and beyond what I expected.”

While Todd Budd will take on Coville in this year’s Rookie Vs. Champ Driver Challenge after winning the senior division of the tournament with three wins of his own, Henry said the competition was a great experience to kick start his career.

“They were a great group of guys,” he said. “There were a bunch of guys from down around here that went up and I got to meet new people too. There was a guy from P.E.I. there and he was a nice kid. It was just a nice experience. They put on a good show and they did everything right. I got to do a bunch of interviews too. During my first interview I was kind of looking down and all nervous, but by the end of it I wasn’t that shy anymore.”

With a family name well known on the Ontario harness racing scene, it is no surprise that Henry wants to follow suit. His mother, Linda, works in the Field Services department at Standardbred Canada and his father, Paul, is one of five brothers (the others being George, Brian, Wayne and Trevor) that learned what horsemanship was all about from the patriarch of the family, Ross Henry.

“Once I was going through high school I took a liking to it,” said Henry of his decision to pursue a driving career. “I saw my dad was doing alright and I started working for my dad fulltime. Then my brother got his trainer’s and driver’s license and started winning a bunch of races and doing really good and now that I’ve got mine I just want to do the same thing as my brother. He’s doing alright now. I’m just hoping to start getting a couple more drives here or there so I can get some more money.

“I was going to try and be a jockey club driver and all that, but I would just like to be able to make a living driving,” continued the modest 21-year-old. “I’m not looking to get rich, but I would like to live comfortably driving, kind of what my uncle Trevor does. I’m not looking to drive at the big tracks -- if I could I would love to -- but I just want to make a living, live comfortably and not struggle with your bills.”

And the resident of Burlington, Ont. has no reservations about travelling across the province to pursue those career goals.

“I’ll drive anywhere to drive anything,” he said. “I’m not going to book off anything. If I have one drive in the middle of no where I’ll drive all the way out there for that drive.”

September 6, 2011 - 3:18 pmThere is an NCRHHA meeting

There is an NCRHHA meeting tomorrow night and adding Cody Henry to the Rookie VS Champ along with Todd Budd is on the agenda.

September 5, 2011 - 9:35 pmonly this i think is wrong

mark morison SAID...

only this i think is wrong is that this young man is not allowed to face darrell coville it is only fair to let the both face him.!

September 5, 2011 - 7:15 pmIt was a pleasure to have

It was a pleasure to have this fine young gentleman drive at Rideau Carleton in the Coville Cup. I think it would be great if there was a similar tournament at other tracks across Ontario. Wouldn't it be a fantastic event for both drivers and fans alike if we could see these youngsters compete against each other at a different track each week. It is very difficult to break in as a young driver with all the money that is on the line today. This event has consistently drawn the largest crowd of the season at Rideau Carleton.

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