FORMER England striker Mick Channon, who became a top-class trainer at the end of his playing career, will retire at the end of the year.
Channon, 73, first took out a licence in 1989 and recently saddled the 2,500th winner of his career on the Flat in Britain.
Not only did he reach the top as a footballer, bagging 257 career goals with Southampton, Norwich, Manchester City and England, he also cracked the top-level as a trainer.
He won 19 Group 1's during his career, with the likes of Piccolo, Zafeen, Tobougg and Queen’s Logic, and banked millions through horse racing.
And he came within inches of landing the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, with his star horse Youmzain finishing runner-up on an incredible three occasions.
Bigger winners have been harder to come by in recent seasons, and he recently sold his £7 million stable hat he originally bought from the Queen.
But he did celebrate a bittersweet success in the Cambridgeshire last month, just days after the death of a close friend.
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He will hand over his licence to his son Jack, bringing to an end a brilliant 30-year career.
He said: “The licence will be handed over to Jack as from the start of next year. It's the right time.
“It’s been a great way of life for over 30 years and I can’t thank everyone that has helped us enough. I couldn’t have got there without them.
“I started with 10 horses in Lambourn where we had a great time, and Jack was born there. We had some good horses and good people work for us.
“When I came in I was a footballer entering the big horrible world of horse racing, but we thought if we bought some sharp two-year-olds we would have a chance of making it.
“We bought a lot of cheap horses for Jaber Abdullah such as Queen’s Logic, Flashy Wings and Music Show, as well as Zafeen who was second in the Guineas and won the St James’s Palace Stakes.
"Jaber was a brilliant supporter and owner who was very loyal, and we had so many great days with Youmzain."
He added: “I wish Jack well, he’s ably assisted me for seven seasons and the time is right for him to take over.
"But I will still be around, helping on the breeding side and not in the wilderness.”
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Jack Channon said: “Dad will be more integral than ever and the most important part of my team.
“He will still do what he enjoys most and if anything he will enjoy it more. I spent a year with Graham Motion in the States and another with John O’Shea in Australia. And time with Clive Brittain.
“The plan is to start with around 60. Certain Lad is a very decent older horse and there will be the Lincoln and Cambridgeshire winners Johan and Majestic as well as some very nice three-year-olds like Rathgar, Moush and today’s runner Caernarfon.
“All the owners have been sensational standing by dad and me and I’m blessed to have all their continued support to make training a success.
“I’m extremely lucky to start in a place like West Ilsley which has so much heritage, notwithstanding the best gallops in the world.”
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