By Peter Fenemor
Thursday 15 June 2023 is a day that will forever be a date that 27-year-old greyhound trainer Sean Codlin will never forget.
That afternoon at Manukau Stadium, Codlin produced the $20 outsider Miami Tan to win a C1 318m sprint.
The win by the daughter of Pinny Mack and Britney Star was the 100th training success that the young conditioner has produced from his Te Kauwhata training base.
The significance of the win belonged to the sire Pinny Mack, who was trained by the late Steve Clark to win numerous races, including the 2018 Waterloo Cup and the 2019 New Zealand Cup.
And the property that Codlin is training from was established from the ground up by Clark.
“It was so uncanny to bring up my 100th winner training from Steve’s property with a greyhound sired by Pinny Mack. It was almost like Steve was up there, guiding me every step of the way to achieve the milestone,” expressed Codlin, who is the June GRNZ Board Award winner, which celebrates young achievers under the age of 30.
“The owners of Pinny Mack (Parker, Parker Syndicate from West Australia) decided to retire Pinny Mack out of respect to Steve. Steve had said he would like to stand Pinny Mack at stud, and I stepped in to carry on with that wish for him. He has four litters on the ground here,” advised Codlin.
Let us go back to the beginning of Sean Codlin’s involvement in greyhound racing.
“It was Bright Star who first piqued my interest in greyhounds. I was working in Auckland as a gib stopper with my dad Steve. I always put $5 on her to win.
“I decided to go to Manukau to watch Bright Star and I was introduced to Bob (Bond) and Audrey. I kept on going back (to Manukau) afterwards and I even went down to a Hawera Easter meeting – that was around eight years ago.
“I met a lot of people on-course – they were neat people and I then decided I wanted more involvement in greyhound racing. I got my owner licence, so yes, it all blossomed from following Bright Star,” he recalled about the slick sprinter who the late Bob Bond mentored to win 73 of her 142 career races over the Manukau 318m sprint.
“I originally bought two pups, and while they were being reared, I bought Irinka Darcy from Australia in 2016. She was the first winner I trained (22 January 2017),” recalled Codlin, who went on to mentor her to 12 wins from her 50 races.
Codlin originally commenced training from a Pokeno property, and he picks up from there.
“Steve (Clark) offered me five kennels at his Maramarua Forest kennels, which was a big learning part for me. I learnt heaps from Steve and we were going to train together, but obviously that didn’t happen.
“I then moved into eight kennels provided by Jared (Udy) and Neisy (Cottam) and then from there, to Steve’s Te Kauwhata kennels after he passed away.
“It was through Corey Steele that I met Robin Wales (Opawa Racing). Robin sent up three pups and it has grown ever since then. Sweet Potential was one of those dogs and yes, I have been lucky to strike a gold mine with her,” reflects Codlin.
Moving forward, Codlin has expanded his racing team, while also breeding litters.
“Robin has been a great source of greyhounds, ready to go for me. Others have included Sweet Angelo, Go Gideon and Sweet Parker.
“Robin is brilliant to train for. He allows you to do whatever you like with them, there’s no pressure, just a relaxed relationship,” stated Codlin.
Steve Codlin has been a great supporter of his son. “Dad has been with me since day dot, owning numerous dogs with me. He has bought some very nice greyhounds from Karen (Walsh).
And while mentioning Steve Codlin, it was him along with Sean who between them provided all the care, comfort and attention that the Steve Clark-trained champion stayer Swift Fantasy thoroughly deserved during her twilight years.
“Eddie Mathews (owner) has always supported me, especially in breeding. He’s always there, helping out,” said Codlin, while adding, “The owners of Miami Tan (Royal Flush Syndicate) are a group of mates from Whangarei who just love it (racing).
Codlin is always keen to travel his greyhounds for feature races at other venues.
“If you have the right dog, then you have to be prepared to travel them to give them the best opportunity,” he explained.
A greyhound Codlin regularly travels to contest feature events is Sweet Potential. However, it was on his home Manukau track last month where Codlin enjoyed his biggest career success.
Codlin applied the finishing touches to his kennel star Sweet Potential to emphatically win the Auckland Oaks by a 6.5 length margin, while he also mentored kennel mate Thrilling Eva to finish second in the $7,000, 527m event.
“Yes, that was a training highlight for me – it was very special to train the quinella. I had been chasing after a trophy for a long time, so to win the Auckland Oaks was pretty cool for me,” he stated, with him now having prepared Sweet Potential to win 16 of her 39 races ($47,416 in stake earnings).
“Going forward, I would like to continue to develop the operation and I’m very comfortable sitting on around 20 – 25 greyhounds, which is a number I’d like to maintain.
“Training greyhounds is a seven-day a week commitment with the sport being a great lifestyle.
“Behind the scenes, the help you get from other licensed people is always greatly appreciated. While we are individual trainers, we are all part of a family nest,” enthused Codlin.
It is with a positive attitude like that that is likely to see Sean Codlin, who commences the final week of the 2022/23 racing season having been required to salute judges on 66 occasions, being a regular attendee at post-race podiums with his team of greyhounds.