Former Southampton F.C. and England footballer Michael Roger Channon is now one of racing’s most respected trainers.
While he’s yet to produce a winner of one of the British Classic Races, he won his first Irish Classic in 2012 with Samitar in the 1,000 Guineas. Other career highlights include wins in the Cheveley Park Stakes, the Dewhurst Stakes, the Falmouth Stakes, and the St James’s Palace Stakes.
He has regularly had over 100 wins in a season, with his best to date in 2003 where he saddled 144 winners and took home prize money over £2million.
Born in Orcheston, Wiltshire Channon made his footballing debut age 17 for Southampton in 1966. While he played for Newcastle United, Manchester City and Norwich during his career, he was best known for his time at Southampton who he won the F.A. Cup with in 1976. In 1972 he was called up to the England national team by Alf Ramsey and went on the chalk up 46 caps in his international career.
After retiring from football in 1986, long time race enthusiast Channon began working as an assistant trainer. In 1990 he obtained his trainer licence and purchased West Ilsley Stables, Newbury whose previous owner was Queen Elizabeth II. After starting out with around 10 horses, Channon’s operation has expanded to nearly 200 and his yard welcomes some of the best racing talent in the country. His old footballing pals including Sir Alex Ferguson, Kevin Keegan, Alan Ball and Chris Cattlin all have horses at his stables.