Tag Archive for: Ray Cochrane

Golden Horn stands out for Cochrane as a special Dettori memory

Frankie Dettori’s long-time friend and former agent Ray Cochrane rates Golden Horn’s 2015 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe victory as one of the Italian’s finest moments in the saddle.

Dettori will bring the curtain down on his European career at Ascot on Saturday, with the rider having last week officially abandoned his plan to retire from the saddle in favour of a move to America in the new year following a series high-profile international engagements before the end of 2023.

While Champions Day does not put a full stop on his riding career, Dettori’s final afternoon at Ascot promises to be an emotional affair with many of the jockey’s career highlights having taken place at the Berkshire venue.

He memorably went through the seven-race card at the track in September 1996, while his Royal Ascot victories are too numerous to mention, with Courage Mon Ami’s Gold Cup triumph back in June raising the roof.

Courage Mon Ami won the Gold Cup for Dettori in June
Courage Mon Ami won the Gold Cup for Dettori in June (John Walton/PA)

However, Cochrane, who was Dettori’s agent for 20 years, felt the rider’s renewed association with trainer John Gosden in 2015 provided the most sparkling of moments as he really kicked off what was to be a glorious autumn of his career.

Cochrane told Betdaq: “We had an unbelievable time, with the big winners he rode, but the one that sticks out is Golden Horn.

“He rang me when I was skiing in Switzerland and said, ‘William Buick has gone to Godolphin’. Immediately I said, ‘Have you rung John Gosden?’, and he said, ‘No’, but I could hear him laughing and then he said, ‘I didn’t need to ring him, he rang me’. I remember saying, ‘Get in there!’. At the time, when Frankie had no job, this was like someone putting a big arm around him.

“He started riding well for John and he rang me one spring morning, and said, ‘Ray, we’ve got one’, but he couldn’t remember his name! I kept asking what his name was and a week later he told me it was a horse called Golden Horn.

“Of course, he went on to win the Derby in his first season back with John, but the race that really sticks out is the Arc de Triomphe.

“He was drawn way out on the outside, which for most riders would be a bad draw. I rang him about it, and he said ‘It’s not too bad – this horse is a big lump and can miss the start, so if he was drawn down on the inside I’ll be shuffled back and my race would be over. At least on the outside, I can slot in wherever I want to. That’s the plan’.

“He told me that he was going to keep wide and go straight up the track for seven furlongs, and when he got to the top of the hill he would shift across and move in behind the pacemaker.

“That’s exactly what he did and it was beautiful to watch. He came into the straight on the bridle, gave him a kick and the rest is history.”

The pair first crossed paths when both were working for trainer Luca Cumani in Newmarket and Cochrane became Dettori’s agent in the aftermath of a tragic plane crash in 2000.

Frankie Dettori celebrates on Fujiyama Crest as he completed his seven-timer
Frankie Dettori celebrates on Fujiyama Crest as he completed his seven-timer (Adam Butler/PA)

Dettori’s life was saved by Cochrane following an accident in which pilot Patrick Mackey died after their plane caught fire just after take-off on a journey from Newmarket to Goodwood.

Cochrane managed to pull Dettori from the wreckage of the aircraft, receiving the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery in 2002 as a result of his actions, but he was forced to retire from racing five months after the incident due to back problems following a series of falls.

He well remembers the day of Dettori’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ though, with Fujiyama Crest’s all-the-way win off top weight in the closing two-mile handicap an experience he is unlikely to forget.

“He’d won the first six races, and by this time he wasn’t walking, he was floating out for his final ride. I followed him out to the paddock and the crowd were all over him,” recalled Cochrane.

“He was drawn on my outside at the two-mile start, and he jumped out and let this horse rip down the outside. We were going flat out down the back at Ascot, we went by the mile-and-a-half start and I heard this roar. There’s a road by the side of the track down the back and I thought it sounded like a tank coming up the side of the road.

“As we were coming out of Swinley Bottom, Frankie was about four lengths clear, and this roar just got louder and I thought, ‘That’s the crowd roaring him on’.

“As we turned into the straight, the noise was unbelievable. It’s the only time in my career that I’ve ever heard the crowd roaring from a mile and a half out. He went on to win of course. It was an unbelievable day and a race I’ll never forget.”

Ray Cochrane holding the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery presented to him by HM Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Lord Belstead
Ray Cochrane holding the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery presented to him by HM Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Lord Belstead (Andrew Parsons/PA)

Cochrane also said he has no doubt Dettori will be seen in Britain next year.

“Don’t be thinking that he won’t be back here, he’ll be back at the drop of a hat to ride in all the big races, because that’s what he does. Don’t be expecting this is the last year we’ll see him – I’m sure we can’t get rid of him that quick!

“I’d imagine he’ll be here for the Guineas, the Oaks, the Derby, Royal Ascot, the King George and every other big race he can get a good ride in. I would imagine that John Gosden will call on him regularly, as more than likely will Ralph Beckett if they need a top-class jockey. I imagine he’ll be the first port of call.”