Vale, Rex Cochrane

Media Release - Monday November 13

Rex Cochrane will forever be remembered as an outstanding horseman and one of the racing industry’s true gentlemen.

The champion trainer recently passed away at the age of 93 and following his hugely successful career had retired in 1994 to Alexandra with his late wife Betty.

Rex Cochrane, the first trainer to reach 1000 wins in New Zealand, has passed away. Photo: Tayler Strong

The highly respected Cochrane was based for decades at Gore and won the New Zealand Trainers’ Premiership in 1969/70 (55 winners), 70/71 (54) and the 71/72 (53) seasons.

He was the first trainer to send out 1000 winners, reaching that historic mark in 1980 when Palimony was victorious at Waimate, and that year was also named as the country’s Racing Personality of the Year.

Cochrane’s achievements were recognised in 2014 when he was inducted into the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame.


Fellow trainer, Hall of Famer and friend Brian Anderton said Cochrane was a remarkable horseman, who always conducted himself impeccably.

“I knew Rex for a long, long time and he was one of nature’s gentlemen and a magnificent trainer,” he said.

“He was the first to get to 1000 winners, but apart from that he was a guy that never had horses bought for him.

“He tried the mares, whether they were any good or not, and then sent them home and their foals later came back to him.

“He won races with a lot of horses that weren’t well bred, he just got the best out of all of them.”

Cochrane was initially apprenticed as a 14-year-old to his father Jim and rode 34 winners on the flat, over fences and in saddle trots before increasing weight took its toll.

He subsequently entered into a training partnership with his father and on his passing in 1957 began his record-breaking solo career that amassed 1486 winners.

Dual Great Autumn Handicap winner Court Belle, 16-time winner Yipp’s Secret were among Cochrane’s flagship gallopers while Connie Lawn, successful in the South Island Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes and South Island Filly of the Year Double D' Or were also top performers.

Cogitation and Ocean Guard were two of his most versatile performers with the former winning the Riverton Cup, New Zealand Grand National Hurdles and New Zealand Grand National Steeplechase.

Ocean Guard triumphed in the Riverton Cup, Great Western Steeples and New Zealand Grand National Hurdles.

Cochrane was also a great mentor and over the years guided the careers of 14 apprentices, among them the multiple Group One winner Jim Collett and Steve Allan, who won the New Zealand Cup on the Anderton-trained Watallan.

He is survived by daughters Robyn, who with husband and former All Black Bevan Wilson has furthered the Cochrane family racing heritage with marked success as owners and trainers, and Judith, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

More Reading...
Million Dollar 2YO Stakes -Winners Before Christmas!
The focus is fast switching from the breeding season to the yearling sales season and with a record number of yearlings sold in Australia in 2023 for $1million or more we’ve already seen three of them come out and win stakes races this spring.
Stakes Double for Playing God - Business as Usual
With two stakes-winners among his three winners at Ascot on Saturday, Playing God is in rare air this season with his five individual stakes-winners of seven stakes races putting him in exulted company.
Sires With Winners - Friday December 1
Here is the full list of 63 stallions which had winners throughout Australasia on Friday with winners and result details.
Cambridge Stud Owned Mare to Chase Black Type
Graham Richardson is hoping a successful week for his female contingent can continue after Snazzytavi was a stand-out victor at Te Rapa on Saturday.
French Stakes-Winner for Shalaa
It’s been a good weekend for Woodside Park sires with Vancouver getting his first Group I winner in Overpass, while Shalaa (IRE) delivered a French stakes-winner overnight when Siam Paragon won the Listed Prix Luthier (1500m) at Deauville on the all weather track.
Sires With Winners - Saturday December 2
Here is the full list of 123 stallions which had winners throughout Australasia today with winners and result details.
Sires With Winners - Sunday December 3
Here is the full list of 55 stallions which had winners throughout Australasia today with winners and result details.
Jericho Cup Winner bred by The Oaks Stud
A return to compete in front of Warrnambool’s boisterous crowd could be on the cards for Nassak Diamond following her dominant win in Sunday’s Jericho Cup (4600m).
Million Dollar Earner Defibrillate Retired
Talented middle-distance specialist and million-dollar earner Defibrillate has been retired.
Magic Millions 3YO Guineas Order of Entry Released
The $3million Magic Millions 3YO Guineas over 1400m at the Gold Coast on January 13 will be targeted by the biggest stables in the country with Racing Queensland and Magic Millions releasing an order of entry for the Top 30 contenders as of Sunday.