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Monday 14 November 2022

Mick Channon

Former Southampton and England striker Mick Channon, who once described himself as 'a bit of a maverick as a trainer', turned his full attention to his erstwhile hobby, horse racing, after his retirement from professional football in 1986. Foresaking football management for racehorse training on the grounds that, 'Horses don't answer back', Channon worked as assistant trainer to John Baker and Ken Cunningham-Brown before taking out a training licence in his own right in 1990.

Channon initially set up on his own in Lambourn, Berkshire with a string of ten horses, but nonetheless saddled 16 winners in his inaugural season. Thereafter, he steadily increased the quantity and quality of his string and, by 1994, had saddled his first Group race winners, including his first Group 1 winner, Piccolo, who was awarded the Nunthorpe Stakes at York on the disqualification of Blue Siren.

It would be another five years until Channon saddled his next Group 1 winner, Seazun, in the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket. However, by that stage of his career, having outgrown his original base, he had moved to the historic West Isley Stables, near Newbury and was well on his way to becoming one of the leading trainers in the country. Channon enjoyed his most successful season in 2003, with 144 winners and over £2 million in prize money. Now 72, Channon still harbours the ambition to own or breed a Derby winner, although he said, 'The game’s not just about winning; it’s about the pleasure you get out of being involved in it.'