Candice Bass-Robinson is full of admiration for Drakenstein Stud homebred Trippi colt Charles Dickens, the Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas favourite whom she has described as the best she has ever trained, but she has never been one to get ahead of herself when rating one of her own.
She first of all emphasised that he was the best she herself had trained, which excludes the great Pocket Power, whom her father Mike trained while she was assistant.
She added, “Charles Dickens is obviously highly talented, everybody has seen that, but he still has to go out and win a Grade 1.”
She said the comparisons to Horse Chestnut and Sea Cottage etc were all “just talk” and added, “He has to now go out and do the talking and then we can talk afterwards.”
She said the talk had not put any additional pressure on her.
She elaborated, “Obviously pressure goes with the territory, but he has been a model horse to train and has done everything I have asked of him. He can only do what we ask him, so we hope he now steps up to the plate and what we think of him comes to fruition.”
There could only be one concern for those who have watched him race and that is his tendency to throw his head around in the running, which some might interpret as him over-racing. It would follow then that the step up in trip could be a concern.
However, Candice explained this was not at all anything to worry about.
She said, “He has a soft mouth, like a lot of Trippi’s and has done that with his head from day one. He is sensitive in the mouth so can be awkward in that area, but it is not over-racing. His full brother Somerset Maughan does the same.”
Somerset Maughan has already won a Listed event over 2000m, so there should be no problem with the step up to 1600m for Charles Dickens.
Bass-Robinson is also not concerned about the strong south easterly breeze forecast or the question of where the pace will come from.
She said the south-easter was normal and predicted the race to be to be run like a normal Guineas.
Charles Dickens had his final work out this morning.
Candice said, “He worked out very nicely, I am very happy with him, he is in a good place and looking well.”
The yard also, among other runners on the day, have their stalwart mare Marina running in the Grade 3 Victress Stakes over 1800m, where she faces a top class old rival in Chansonette.
Candice said it would be a preparation race for the Grade 1 Paddock Stakes.
However, the Silvano mare should have come on from her last race where she gave the subsequent Grade 1 WSB Cape Fillies Guineas winner Make It Snappy 11kg and was beaten three lengths.
She was a neck clear of Chansonette in that race at level weights, although Chansonette did beat her by a neck in last season’s Paddock Stakes.
Five-year-old Marina receives half-a-kilogram from four-year-old Chansonette on Saturday because she carries a 2kg Grade 2 penalty compared to Chansonette’s 3kg Grade 1 penalty.