Racing: Cochrane makes return to the track

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The Independent Online
RAY COCHRANE will be in action for the first time since his arrest on Friday by the Metropolitan Police in their ongoing investigation into race-fixing and doping when he rides at Southwell today.

Cochrane's agent, Andrew Gilbert, said yesterday: "Ray is very much looking forward to getting back to riding and he has got a couple of good chances tomorrow. Donna's Double has a good chance in the last judged on his two wins on the turf and Ritual Run is top-rated in the median auction."

Gilbert said that Cochrane's riding would not be affected by his arrest and rebailing until 10 March.

"He's not worried because he has got nothing to worry about," Gilbert said.

Graham Bradley, who was questioned with Cochrane at Charing Cross police station, bounced back to score on Luke Warm at Warwick on Saturday.

Tony McCoy, who is under scrutiny for nothing more serious than his riding style, was yesterday defended by David Johnson, the owner of Saturday's Mildmay/Cazalet Chase winner Eudipe. The stewards decided that McCoy had hit the horse in front of its quarters and suspended him for two days. The offence triggered a further four-day ban, which was held over from last month.

"I was surprised, to put it mildly, that the stewards decided to look at Tony's riding which I thought was brilliant," Johnson said.

"It's almost a persecution of Tony by the stewards and seems very unjust. Is there a witch hunt out there?"

Johnson confirmed that Eudipe had eaten up on his return to Pipe's yard and, according to the trainer's son David, "is in good form this morning".

The gelding is now likely to have a rest before being aimed at the Grand National, while Johnson's Wahiba Sands, 16-1 for the Champion Hurdle with William Hill, may reappear at Ascot on Saturday. Tamarindo, tailed off when pulled up in Ascot's Betterware Cup, may try to redeem his reputation in the John Bull Chase at Wincanton on Thursday.

The high-class hurdler Relkeel has strained a tendon and will miss the rest of this season. The 10-year-old made a winning reappearance in the Bula Hurdle at Cheltenham - for the second year running - last month.

Hidebound may have been suffering from a bug when defeated at odds of 2-5 by Behrajan at Sandown on Saturday. "He came back last night and there was muck and gunge coming out of his nose," Nicky Henderson, his trainer said.

There will be a 3pm inspection today to determine whether tomorrow's card at rainswept Leicester can take place.

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