Channon’s Classic First Keeps it in the Family

Jack Channon took up the reins at the fabled West Ilsley yard in January and has made a determined start in his bid to follow the 32-year training career of his father, Mick. 

Currently saddling winners at an impressive strike-rate, including a double on Bank Holiday Monday, the younger Channon can approach the prospect of his first Classic runner in the QIPCO 1,000 Guineas with a degree of confidence. Yes, the filly in question, Caernarfon (GB) (Cityscape {GB}), may be trading at up to 50/1 for Sunday’s feature but the last time she was seen in action in public it was when posting a victory over course and distance in the Listed EBF Montrose Fillies’ S. in October. 

“It’s a big weekend ahead,” Channon admits. “But Caernarfon seems to be in great form. Touch wood, all her work to this point has been foot-perfect, and we think we’ve got her exactly where we want. She’s pretty much just come in her coat, so I think she’s flourishing at the right time, and I couldn’t be happier with the way she is. Now it’s just whether she’s good enough, which is always the case, isn’t it?”

There is a touch of deja vu to this particular Classic runner, for the Channon stable, in the days of Mick’s reign, sent Caernarfon’s full-sister Dan’s Dream (GB) to Newmarket for the 1,000 Guineas after she won the G3 Fred Darling S. at Newbury. Both fillies have run in the colours of their breeder, Steven Smith’s Hunscote Stud, with Caernarfon being owned in partnership with Paul Humphreys and Jonathan Sweeney. 

“Funnily enough, seeing as they’re full-sisters, they actually couldn’t be more different as fillies,” says Channon of the siblings. “Dan’s Dream was a lot stockier, and she didn’t get the mile. She was an out-and-out seven-furlong filly, whereas this filly I feel will be a mile-and-a-quarter filly in time.

“Even though, obviously, they share the ability, they’re different types, which will hopefully grant Caernarfon better fortunes in the Guineas than her sister.”

Though arriving at Newmarket without a prep run, Caernarfon is not short of experience. From her July debut, she ran seven times in 2022, winning twice and finishing in the top three on a further four occasions, including taking third in the Listed Silver Tankard S. over a stiff mile at Pontefract before her stakes victory on the Rowley Mile. The undulations should hold no fear for her.

Cannon continues, “She’s a filly that doesn’t need an awful lot of work. She’s quite a light-framed filly, and I didn’t feel like she needed a prep run to get her spot on.

I think we’ve got her exactly where we want her. She’s done some nice bits of work, and she’s been there and done it over the course and distance. The track won’t be a problem, so it’s all down to ability now.”

With nine wins to his credit already this year, Channon has ensured it’s very much business as usual at West Ilsley, which has previously housed such star names as Queen’s Logic (Ire), Youmzain (Ire), Samitar (Ire), Music Show (GB), Nahoodh (Ire) and Zafeen (GB) since Mick Channon bought the Berkshire stable from HM The Queen in 1999.

“I think if you’ve got good horses to aim at good races, there’s a natural buzz that it creates around the place,” says Channon of the current mood in the yard. “We’re very busy, so it’s hard to stop and properly take it all in. But definitely, just to have those good horses to even compete in the big races gives you that buzz that you feel like you’re properly involved. It’s been an enjoyable time for everyone.”

The post Channon’s Classic First Keeps it in the Family appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.