The father of a former top jumps jockey, who took his own life, wants to help prevent other families from enduring the loss and pain he is suffering.

Cody Singer had a zest for life but, on August 29, the 26-year-old cut that life short.

Now, Cody's father, Philip Singer, wants to confront suicide and stop others from taking their lives.

"If out of this, there is one person that can be reached, one more young life that can be saved or helped, that would be a great thing," said Singer.


Just three days before his death, Wairarapa-based Cody had a phone conversation with his dad.

"We were joking and laughing and he seemed his normal self," said Singer.

"I miss the phone calls from him."

The week before, Cody enjoyed a Sunday roast at his dad's house in Levin with his grandparents. He was chatty and bubbly.

He had just finished his first season as a huntsman for the Wairarapa Hunt, a job he loved.

In 2014, his successful career as a jumps jockey, which included riding 36 wins, came to an untimely end. Cody was riding Cape Kinaveral, the same horse he rode to victory in the 2012 Grand National Steeplechase at Te Rapa Racecourse when he had a bad fall.

Cody was knocked out for some time and suffered a major head injury. He was advised by doctors to stop riding.

"It was the last major concussion that he had," said Singer.

Cody Singer was a champion jumps jockey. Photo/NZPA/Ross Setford
Cody Singer was a champion jumps jockey. Photo/NZPA/Ross Setford

Cody struggled with emotional and physical problems caused by the head injury. He had concussion-induced depression and constant headaches.

"He had a lot of head problems, which included balance problems ... which he had to work through. I don't think they ever completely came right," said Singer.

"He was continually on medication."

On August 29, Cody was found dead behind the stables at the Wairarapa Hunt Club, just out of Masterton, where he lived.

Cody's death made Singer recall a conversation with his son after a fellow jockey took his life.

"He said it was something he'd never do," Singer said.

"But I think at the end of the day the depression and the headaches and everything that went along with it just got too much for him."

Since Cody's death, Singer and his wife, Jan, have been discussing funding counselling for young riders who have suffered head injuries.

"If there's something we can do - if there's some way we can fundraise some money to help pay for a counsellor or just have somebody these young guys can call and sit down and talk with."

Singer said Cody really benefited from the counselling he had after his fall but they needed to be ongoing and include someone checking up on the riders or equipping family members so they can look for warning signs.

Cody doing what he loved best, riding horses. Photo/Supplied
Cody doing what he loved best, riding horses. Photo/Supplied

Cody had been riding horses since he was young.

At just 12, he started working as a stable hand for Levin trainer Grant Searle, before and after school. It was not long before the talented horseman began riding track work for Searle.

When he was 14, Cody began work as an apprentice for well-known trainer Richard Collett at his racing stables in Pukekohe. Collett spotted Cody working for his dad at the yearling sales.

Singer said despite loving the work, his son didn't particularly like Auckland.

"He loved the country better than the city," Singer said.

Cody spent the last year in the Wairarapa as a huntsman for the Wairarapa Hunt. And, despite the doctor's advice, he continued breaking in horses and doing some track work.

"He was advised to stop riding altogether but Cody being Cody and his love for the horses, he couldn't stop riding completely. He gave up the race-day riding."

Riding as part of the Hunt was one way Cody "could still get his adrenalin rush instead of charging around a race course he was charging round fields jumping wire and all sorts of things", said Singer.

Cody leaves behind his dad, mum Michelle, half-brother Shayne, 30, sister Alana, 21, and step parents Jan and John.

"We're supporting each other; the whole family is," said Singer.

"I'm finding it a little bit hard but keeping the brain busy is the big thing."

Singer said he would miss Cody's smile and friendship.

"He was a cheeky little bugger. He had a wicked sense of humour. I said at his funeral that he was a mate. He was just a great mate."


If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.


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