Channon tastes glory with Samitar
Mick Channon finally secured his first Classic victory as Samitar sprang a minor surprise in the Etihad Airways Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh.
The former England international footballer began his training career in 1990 and while he has enjoyed plenty of big-race success in various countries, the most sacred of racing prizes had eluded him. And the 12-1 chance looked to have plenty on her plate, having finished down the field in the French 1000 Guineas.
Newmarket Guineas heroine Homecoming Queen was again sent to the front, but this time she weakened tamely in the straight as young rider Martin Harley cut a confident figure on Samitar, who finished her race off well to score by a length and a half from the Aidan O'Brien-trained outsider Ishvana.
Channon said: "I'm delighted she's found her form. She didn't run badly in France, but she made the running and she should have been held up. It was my fault for running her in a sales race at Newmarket before that - I was trying to be clever dropping her back to six furlongs.
"She needed some decent ground and she's got it now. I kept saying she's a good filly and it is hard for people to keep believing in you when things go wrong.
"She'll go for the Coronation Stakes (at Royal Ascot) and she was bought by the owner (Martin Schwartz) to go to America. Hopefully after winning today I'll keep her until September.
"The owner believed in me by putting Martin on and he got it spot-on - she was ridden with confidence. Martin's very confident and is a very hard worker."
Harley added: "It was a big opportunity to be given my first ride in a Classic. The boss has given me a lot of chances and to give me a ride like this in a Classic is unbelievable. She's been working good and I have to say a big thanks to the boss and all the staff back home.
"Two furlongs down she was never going to be beat and she travelled like the winner the whole way. What an amazing feeling."