Mick Channon’s Retirement

November 4th, 2022 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

Hi there!

I was saddened, but not surprised, to read that Mick Channon has decided to bring to an end his 33-year training career at the close of this season.

Our paths met fleetingly many years ago, when he first started with a small string of horses, but then more recently a mutual friend suggested that he could possibly benefit from the help of a private handicapper.

He kindly offered me the job, but I soon realised that he was his own man and I can say, without fear of rebuke, that he seldom wavered from his preferred option which, on many occasions, appeared to ask a young horse to race on worryingly unfavourable terms.

Yet frequently he has nicked black type with a horse that had absolutely no right to be in such exalted company. Indeed that was the case recently, when Legend Of Xanadu beat a rival rated 21lb superior to land a Listed race at Doncaster.

His son Michael once told me that Mick is the most optimistic person he has ever met. He actually believes every horse he runs can win.

Yet there have been, let’s call them, many collateral benefits to involvement with Mick, both in my capacity as an owner and employee.

Morning gallops were the best show in town.

Regardless of the sensitivities of the occupants of the car – or the thickness of their skin – the air could rapidly become blue with the crudest Anglo-Saxon vernacular, but it was invariably followed by a swift grinning glance to his side or over his shoulder to ensure it had met with the desired impact.

Swearing is a fine art. Some people are good at it – placing the expletive with perfect inflection and cadence – and Mick is a master. It’s another thing he did well, along with the football, of course.

But there is a side to Mick that few will have seen. I remember the look on his face when he heard news of the death of a dear friend. He said nothing, but gazed trance-like into the void. No words on this occasion. None needed.

We all know about Youmzain, Piccolo, Tobougg and Queen’s Logic – possibly his best horse – but let me put on record, not as an epitaph but so he can read this now while he is still able to creak around, that Mick Channon is one of the kindest most sensitive people I have ever met.

Marten Julian