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From left-right: Derek Gamblin, Frank Adams, Roger Stack, MRC & Nigel Bunter.


If you met Roger Stack, the odds are he made you laugh. 

In fact, unless you were of an easily offended nature, you'd have loved him.

Utterly forthright and outrageously un 'PC' he was a tidal wave of humanity, humour, generosity, loyalty and most importatly - LIFE.

The memory of Roger Stack; 'Stacky' to his friends, will make many of us more determined to cram as much life in as we can during our short tenancy we've been allotted because Stacky certainly did and our lives were all the more richer for it.

Roger Stack, as the manager of the late John Sunley's horses was with Mick from the outset in 1989 and proved to be loyal, trusting and a great friend. Along with his wife Bridget, as Mick explains, he brought life and light in to the sometimes mundane day to day proceedings of working life.

"Stacky darkened my door back in the Lambourn days and I couldn't be more grateful now I look back. Just shy of 30 years I trained horses for Rog and John Sunley whilst Bridget had a few in her name and we always had a lot of fun. You couldn't not have fun when Roger was about.

"I'm often up front and sometimes speak without the thought to how others will take me but Stacky could take it to Olympic standards of outrage. That said, I can't recall anyone ever being upset by what he did or said - that's probably because he was downright hilarious.

"I'm not saying all of this because he's gone - everyone gets painted as a saint to a certain degree when they snuff it - Roger Stack was a brilliant, kind, warm and funny man. I loved him.

"I know that when he lost Bridget, whom he was devoted to, he was shaken to the core but he kept on going, trying to make the best of things and he certainly did that. He wouldn't suffer in silence either. He didn't go on about it but there was a soft nature to him below all of the bluff and gusto that he brought into any room he entered.

"I was friends with him for a long time and I really felt for him during that period but we made the most of it by enjoying a horse that Bridget bred. His name was SGT Reckless.

"When Bridget passed away in 2010, it was with her typical good humour and huge generosity that in her will she decreed that her and her husband's horse be given to me.

I remember saying to Stacky at the time 'A mate giving me a bloody horse - that's all I need innit?!'. We really didn't know what to expect when this three year old gelding walked off the ramp and proceeded to block out the sun. 

"He was massive.

"Michael Jnr christened him the 'Police Horse' and he was a figure of fun for two whole years until we managed to get him going - what an engine he had. He won at a canter in a bumper at Wincanton on debut and that was a very emotional day for all of us. Stacky didn't come because he said it would all be too much for him and, true to his word, he was in tears when I phoned him after the race.

"That's what horses can do to people I suppose and Stacky knew that more than anyone. He was a major figure in equine circles, particularly on his home patch in Sussex and he was hugely respected - he was a great horseman, a big fish at Hickstead. He was also great at treating horses and has sorted a few of ours out with muscular ailments and spinal therapy treatment."

Michael Jnr takes up the tale.

"Stacky and Mark Fox helped us out with John Sunley's last homebred, a filly called Persun. She was tricky to keep sound and Stacky and Foxy set to work because she was always sore through her back and in particular her off hind quarters. My abiding memory will be of a day we shared at Epsom when Silvestre de Sousa won on her in 2015.

"In the paddock before hand Stacky was his usual silly self and I'm not sure SDS knew how to take him if I'm honest. 'Now, you know what you're doing don't you son?,' he said to Silvestre who was about twenty winners in front of the rest in the jockeys' championship. 'Err, I think so yes,' said Silvestre, unsure as to whether or not Stacky was joking or a complete idiot. 'The key is son, don't fall off the f****r'.

"I legged SDS up and I'm still not sure if he knew Stacky was taking the piss.


"It was a great day and Stacky and Foxy were so proud of the filly. Mick was in hospital at the time and very unwell and that was when Stacky's soft side came out. We watched the replay in the winners' lounge and Roger turned to me with tears in his eyes. 'I know he's your old man and I know he's a grumpy bastard, but I love Mick Channon you know. I'd do anything for him because I know he'd do anything for me.'

"I'll miss Roger, his humour his warmth and his ability to break wind with huge enthusiasm and little care for whose presence he was in when he did it. A top bloke."

But we'll leave the last word to Mick, to whom Roger meant so much and who has so many warm memories.

"I'm not a great churchgoer and nor was Roger, but I think he'll have us there in church to hedge his bets one last time 'just in case' there is somebody up there - if you knew Rog you'll know what I mean. I'll miss him immensely and although the sadness is hard to get over at this moment in time it's with a great sense of privilege that I can say that not only did Roger Stack enter my life all those years ago, but also that I came to know him as my mate. I'm sure everyone else will feel the same way. 

"I can't say much more than that."

Posted By: Wilsley News