Candice Bass-Robinson and superstar colt Charles Dickens (Picture: Wayne Marks).
Trainer finished sixth in the national trainers log last season and will finish fourth this term
David Mollett (Business Day)
There is an interesting statistic regarding Saturday’s meeting at Kenilworth: Justin Snaith sends 22 runners to the Cape track and Candice Bass-Robinson sends 20. It is evidence that the latter stable is becoming increasingly popular with owners who are happy to have their horses with SA’s leading female trainer.
It’s been an excellent season for Bass-Robinson, daughter of legendary trainer Mike Bass. The 48-year-old finished sixth in the national trainers log last season and will finish fourth this term.
Of course, it is Charles Dickens who has delighted so many people with two grade 1 wins, one grade 2 and one grade 3. The colt has a big shout of being named horse-of-the-year at next month’s Equus awards.
Bass-Robinson’s supporting cast have played important roles in the stable’s successful season — most notably Trip Of Fortune with the four-year-old winning the grade 1 Horse Chestnut as well as the Drill Hall Stakes. The four-year-old has earned plenty of prize money for his owner/breeder, Drakenstein Stud.
Perhaps no trainer is looking forward to the new season more than Bass-Robinson who appears to have a strong string of younger horses set to hold their own at the top level.
One of them is her two-year-old filly, October Morn, who has been priced up 6-10 favourite for Saturday’s Irridescence Stakes at Kenilworth. No surprise at this price considering the Avontuur Farm-bred filly trounced her rivals by six lengths last time out.
The race is named after Mike de Kock’s grade 1 winner, Irridescence, whom this writer was lucky enough to witness notch a game victory in the QE 11 Cup in Hong Kong 17 years ago. She was given a magnificent ride by Weichong Marwing.
The only danger to October Morn is the Snaith inmate Flying V — a R650,000 daughter of Vercingetorix also bred at Avontuur Farm. The filly is chasing a course hat-trick but faces her toughest task to date.
Aldo Domeyer rides six horses for the Bass-Robinson stable at the meeting and kicks off with a son of Trippi, Trippi’s Silk, in the first race on the card. The youngster was weak in the market on debut but turned in a fair effort to finish fourth.
The opposition includes Vaughan Marshall’s grey colt, Golden Grey, and Solomons Seal with Piere Strydom booked to ride Eric Sands’ Potala Palace colt.
Sands also introduces a R650,000 son of Vercingetorix who will sport the familiar yellow and purple colours of the Hollywood Syndicate. Probably a race best watched.
In the second race, the Bass-Robinson-Domeyer partnership team up with Plus Four, a suitable name as this R800,000 son of Vercingetorix is co-owned by Gary Player. The trainer’s comment in Winning Form is “very nice colt, may just need the experience”.
Questioning has the best form while Sea Horse has to enter calculations as the son of Twice Over cost Nic Jonsson R2m when purchased from Klawervlei Stud. Snaith’s comment “smart colt, one to follow over ground”.
Domeyer will partner the favourite, Lunch Money, in the final leg of the Pick Six and — from a favourable draw — the son of Rafeef has a bright chance of notching his second win.
However, the joker in the pack could be stablemate, Max The Otter, who is surely better than his recent form figures suggest. His last race over 1,000m was too short and a quartet floating Gareth Wright’s mount with Lunch Money might pay a decent dividend.
1st Race: No Selection
2nd Race: No Selection
3rd Race: (7) Coastal Commander (9) Sacambaya (2) Steadfast (4) Diamond Rock
4th Race: (4) Wecangoallnight (2) Bereave (3) Silver Falcon (5) Speed Machine
5th Race: (3) Kwinta’s Light (5) Miss Marguerite (6) Sonic Burst (4) Queen Of Sparta
6th Race: (8) October Morn (4) Flying V (1) Beach Bomb (6) Siddeley
7th Race: (6) Snow Pilot (4) Monumental (3) Hluhluwe (5) Tyrion Lannister
8th Race: (2) Love Is A Rose (9) Broadway Girl (7) Young Love (5) Future Girl
9th Race: (2) Lunch Money (9) Max The Otter (3) Bardolino (5) Augusta Blue
10th Race: (10) Highlyconfidential (7) Where’s The Party (2) Touch Of Grace (1) Cattaleya