Channon pays tribute to lifelong friend Corby
MICK CHANNON has paid a moving tribute to Tim Corby, referring to the 63-year-old, who died in a car crash on August 27, as "a great man and friend".
On the eve of Corby's funeral in Northamptonshire on Thursday, which Channon was unable to attend owing to the injuries he sustained in the crash on the M1, when the pair were returning from Doncaster sales, the West Ilsley trainer spoke for the first time of his admiration and respect for Corby, and of the accident that claimed his friend's life.
Recuperating in the sitting room of his Hodcott House home, Channon said both he and his younger son Jack, 15, were lucky to escape alive from the crash near Kegworth in Leicestershire, on the southbound carriageway of the M1. Corby was driving a silver Mercedes, which left the motorway and hit a concrete pillar.
Channon said: "Nobody will ever know what happened, but my advice to anyone who does a lot of driving is to invest in a top-of-the-range car. After something like this you see things differently. We've tragically lost poor Tim, and Jack and I are very, very lucky to be here."
Considering the extent of his injuries - a broken left arm, broken jaw, broken ribs and a punctured lung - Channon looks in remarkably good shape. His jaw has been successfully plated and he is getting used to talking, while his left arm has been pinned and will remain in plaster for another five weeks.
The trainer added: "It's not easy to talk, but I'm trying my best and am improving all the time. I regularly speak to my senior assistant, Joe Tuite, while my wife Jill and elderson Michael have been with me constantly since the accident.
"At the doctor's insistence I've been walking a little further each day and have made itover to the office this week for short visits. I feel a bit pottery, but it's great to be back."
Recalling his long and close association with Corby, Channon said: "What can you say about Tim? He was just a big kid, ever since I first met him 35 or 40 years ago when he was riding and selling boots to stable lads - basically making his way in a game hewas so passionate about.
"Those were the days when he was great mates with Mick Ryan and William Huntingdon, when we were all young, keen racegoers. He was enthusiastic for horses and enthusiastic for life.
"Tim was enjoying life more than ever. He'd always worked hard, and through managing John Guest's horses and theBox 41 team, he'd got there. But there was so much more to come."
Channon added: "Every day he woke up he was looking for the next Innit, Checkit, Katchit or Missit. Hemade ownership fun and his owners were invariably his mates, for whom he more often than not had nicknames - ‘Clive the Sweet' sold confectionary, ‘Bob the Car' sold cars and his great friend ‘Terry the Rag' is in the rag trade.
"They are all fun people, instantly likeable, and a reflection of Tim, who introduced them to us all.
"It's just so very sad, and my thoughts are for his daughter Adriana and his long-standing partner Sheila."
Corby had horses with Channon since the trainer's move to West Ilsley from Lambourn ten years ago. Racing professionals regarded him as a shrewd judge, and in his capacity as a bloodstock agent he purchased subsequent Champion Hurdle hero Katchit for 15,500gns.
He was a popular figure in Newmarket and followingThursday's private cremation, there will be a memorial service in the town at a later date.
Corby, who had a housein East Ilsley, was always one of the first to arrive for morning work and regularly represented Channon on the racecourse. The pair were frequently seen together at all the major sales in Britain and Ireland, and Corby was, in effect, the trainer's right-hand man.
He was widely regarded as a fine judge of work on the gallops and a shrewd, albeit occasional, punter.