Antiphony makes his debut over fences at Sligo (above) on Wednesday
PICTURE: Caroline Norris (racingpost.com/photos)
By David Ashforth 6:00PM 27 SEP 2016
GOOD news. I’ve got something useful to tell you. I’ve just finished reading Mick Channon jnr’s new book, called ‘How’s your Dad?’ and if you do the same I’ll be very surprised if you don’t enjoy it.
Thousands of books have been written about racing, too many of them an unwarranted intrusion into our limited time on earth, and it’s difficult to create something novel. Channon jnr has done it with a wonderful book worthy of lots of positive adjectives, such as honest, engaging, funny, revealing and lots more. It’s highly readable.
As a bonus, if you are a student of swearing, it’s compelling evidence of its appropriateness, even essentialness, in certain circumstances. Mick Channon snr without the occasional – well, frequent – expletive would be like a jockey without stirrups.
‘How’s your Dad?’ throws endearing, sometimes searing light on father and son and the intriguing relationship between them, with plenty of entertaining tales and just the right amount of appearances by horses. Too many horses and too many races have drowned many a racing book.
One question remains unanswered. Why give your own son the same first name as your own? It’s barmy. With thousands to choose from, Michael Channon and his wife chose Michael. It would have been a bit better if they’d called him Michael II, as in the USA. Oh, well, there are plenty of other things to blame Channon snr for but as Channon jnr knows well there’s something about the old man that is indestructibly loveable.
This isn’t a book review but ‘How’s your Dad?’ is a cracker and now that I’ve finished it I can return to The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and find out how it ends, even though I don’t care very much.
Koeman to score?
But I digress. Channon snr has a two-year-old called Koeman running in a maiden race at Salisbury (2.20). It is Koeman’s third run but five of the 14 runners are making their debut and at Salisbury, Nottingham and Kempton there are 26 juvenile debutants on display.
It is my belief, admittedly supported by a shameful lack of statistics, that winning a two-year-old maiden race towards the tail-end of the season is not necessarily cause for celebration. If you intend to keep the horse you are likely to start next year running in handicaps on an unhelpful mark.
At the equivalent meetings in 2015, three debutants won maiden races. Andastra has not run since; Next Life has run once, finishing last of eight off a mark of 84 in a handicap in June; Stoney Broke has also run once, when last of six off a mark of 75 in a handicap last month. It’s hardly proof but it’s a start.
The connections of Antiphony, on the other hand, must be desperate to persuade their pride and joy (?) to stop being a maiden. Four times a beaten favourite over hurdles, Antiphony makes his debut over fences (Sligo 2.35). Good luck to Keith Donoghue and cream buns all round from me if he wins.