MICK CHANNON INTERVIEW - 12/04/2016

Mick Channon made his name as a footballer, representing, amongst others Southampton 510 times scoring 185 goals and ofcourse scoring 21 goals in his 46 appearances for England.  He was well known for his "windmill" celebration.  Following his glittering football career he took on a path in horse racing, initially as Assitant trainer and soon after as a trainer in his own right.  He has seven British Grade One victories to his name and there is a belief that a "Classic" could be around the corner.  I spoke to Mick regarding his yard and the season ahead;

What would you say is the yards greatest achievement to date?

Staying competitive for 26 years in a game where there's no let up.  That's not just me either.  People like Leslie White (Travelling Head  Lass) and Gill Hedley (secretary) have been with me throughout as have people like Peter Taplin and Patrick Trant as owners.  Then you take into account the staff like former Assistants Mark Wallace, Paul Deegan and Joe Tuite who have gone on to be successful trainers in  their own right and the countless lads and lasses who have come and gone through the years.

Still being able to compete is something I'm  very proud of.  I wouldn't be fashionable anymore and there are plenty of new trainers now who are experiencing the popularity I enjoyed when I was up and coming.  That's why still I still see being able to make a dent from time to time as an achievement.  That and the many people who have helped me do it along the way.

What is your favourite UK race-track and why?

Salisbury, Ascot and Newbury.  Salisbury is where I'm from and is a great place with proper people who love their racing.  Ascot is where  all the hours can be worthwhile, at the Royal meeting in particular and Newbury is just down the road and we have Box 41 in the Berkshire Stand where we have so many laughs with family, friends and owners.  Which are basically the same thing!

How has your training gone during the Winter?

It's been bloody hard work.  You speak to anyone in the game and they'll tell you how hard it is to attract staff these days.  Particularly with recent restrictions on overseas staff and working regulations.  

The horses have done very well and have had a very good prep for the flat season which started, as ever in the first week of the New Year but the staff have had to take up the slack.  They've worked themselves into the ground and I just hope we have a good year to repay their dedication.

Thinking ahead to the UK Flat season proper,which of your horses has the best chance of providing you with your first British Group One success since Music Show in 2010?

We're very hopeful with Harrison - basically because he's ours.  We bred him and he's got the pedigree that could make into a Derby type.  But that is Dreamland because it's so hard to break through in the top middle distance events without the proper backing.

I think a hell of a lot of a horse called Scrutineer who has plenty of  ability.  

Mobsta should show how good he can be this year as well.  Whilst Epsom Icon, Czabo and even a filly called Summer Icon have a bit of class.  There's a lot of Sixties Icon progeny in there and Summer Icon is still a maiden but that's our approach - plenty of hope because the big boys are a very strong lot to compete against.

Obviously you want to win every race however, have you targeted any of your horses towards a specific big race that you really want to win?

We're right on the verge of the "classics" and Scrutineer will head for the Free Handicap and Epsom Icon for the Nell Gwyn at Newmarket next week.  

Then we have the Newbury trials when things sort themselves out and you get a clearer picture of how the class acts have wintered.  At the other end of the talent spectrum, I'd like to see horses like Knight of the Air step up.  I enjoy winning with moderate horses with a  great attitude as much as I ever have.

Do you have an unraced horse/any unraced horses that readers should keep the right side of?

I'll give you a few two year olds.  Be warned, ours always improve for a run so don't go overboard.  They need to be group horses to win first time up.  I prefer it that way because it's a long year and hopefully a long career for them.  I might have better coming along later but these fit the bill in terms of application, attitude and readiness at this time of year;

Chicago Star
Perfect in Pink
Raffle King
Whitely

If you could pick a horse from another stable who would it be and why?

The Derby winner of 2016 - That said, we might have him!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Not really. Thanks for getting in touch and I just wish all of your  readers a good year with plenty of enjoyment.  This is a great sport  and if anyone takes an interest I'd urge you to take them racing.  The few bad stories always get press coverage but in my experience it's a  great sport that never stops educating you - it keeps an old man young!