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Mike and Carol Bass pictured at the Cape Racing and Cape Breeders Awards last Friday night (Picture: Wayne Marks)

The legendary retired Cape trainer Mike Bass is hoping Charles Dickens, who is trained by his daughter Candice Bass-Robinson, will go through this season unbeaten.
He said the yard had been lucky Charles Dickens had failed his scope before the sales (displaced palate) and had thus beeen raced by his breeders Drakenstein Stud.
He said, “He would have been a hard horse to pick, he looked okay but was not impressive. He was a dodgy little horse.”
He admitted nobody had really wanted him.
However, he has now turned four years old and Mike added, “He is becoming better this year.  He was a bit skinny last season, but he is better this year.”
He clarified, “He is very, very good and probably the best who has been through here.”
However, he qualified this by saying, “Pocket Power won 20 and this one has only won eight, so he’s still got to get there. He’s got to do another season because he got beaten twice last season. Both of those beatings were forgiveable though and he will improve this season. He’s better looking and he’s a stronger horse. He will do better than he did last season. I hope he doesn’t get beaten this season again. I wouldn’t expect him to be.”     
Regarding the failed scope as a youngster Mike said, “There’s nothing wrong with him, he’s got no problems at all.”
He even wondered whether the veterinarians had made a mistake in failing his scope. 
About getting middle distances this season, Mike said, “I think he will but I’m not convinced because he’s a brilliant miler. He has to be tried over that trip and I think he will probably be ok.”
Candice will make all the decisions as a fine trainer in her own right but it is neverthless nice to hear the views of Mike, a trainer renowned for his ability to bring the best out of horses after they had reached full maturity. 
Charles Dickens will have a massive following this season and if he does go for the WSB Met and succeeds over that 2000m trip, the Hollywoodbets Durban July could then be an option.