The Queen of the Sun Met
The Queen of the Sun Met
A victory on Sun Met Race day is a special achievement in anyone’s books, but for
the Milnerton based Bass-Robinson yard this year will go down as one for the
memory books. Apart from a Grade 1 double victory on the day with Russet Air
winning the Grade 1 Cape Flying Championship and Clouds Unfold romping home
for a back-to-back victory in the Grade 1 Majorca Stakes, what make it even more
special is that the Majorca Stakes is the race that gave Candice her first Grade 1
winner as a trainer back in 2017.
Candice Robinson was born into a racing family, with her dad, Mike Bass, having
trained for over 45 years with great success over the course of his career. She joined
the stable full time over 15 years ago and officially “took the reins” from her father
three years ago when he retired. The family-run training operation is based in
Milnerton in Cape Town and Mike still comes into the yard on most days, providing
valuable insight, knowledge and a shoulder for Candice to lean on.
After a fairytale ending to the Sun Met Race Day for the Bass-Robinson yard, we
chatted to Candice to find out more about her training journey.
Did you always aspire to be a trainer from much younger or was it just a
natural succession to follow in your dad’s footsteps?
I have always been involved with horses but earlier on I didn’t aspire to be a trainer. I
actually worked in the corporate world for about 9 years but once
I returned to the yard full time then it became evident that this was what I wanted to
Which is the best racehorse you’ve had the privilege of training?
There are a few favourites who come to mind! Marinaresco who I won the Vodacom
Durban July with 2 years ago and Nightingale who gave me my first Grade 1 winner
as a trainer. Not forgetting Dutch Philip, Horizon and of course Clouds Unfold who
won the Grade 1 Majorca stakes on Sun Met day this weekend for Drakenstein Stud
for the second year in a row.
Is there one race (local or internationally) that is on your bucket list to win as a
I have a few races I would like to win but “The One” would have to be the Grade 1
Sun Met, thereafter perhaps the Colts Guineas.
Behind every successful trainer, and behind every Grade 1 victory, is a team of
people working behind the scenes to make it happen. Can you tell us about
some of the team members who are invaluable to your yard’s success?
I have an incredible team behind me, my assistant trainer Melissa Arnold has been
with me for about 9 years and she is just incredible, I know I can rely on her 110%
for anything and she basically runs the yard, she works exceedingly hard and she
has a great love for the horses who’s well beings come before anyone else! I have
about 40 grooms and head grooms of which most have been with me for many many
years. My brother Mark, my father and mother are all an integral part of the business
and then all the vets (Baker ’n McVeigh), farrier (Robbie Miller), Physio (Cape Animal
Physiotherapy), Chase Liebenberg (social media marketing), Linda Whitmore
(secretary) Equifeeds and many more but will run out of space if I mention them all.
Without each and everyone of these people these things are not possible so owe a
lot of my success to them.
Apart from training, you are also an accomplished dressage rider, tell us about
some of your achievements to date?
I started doing dressage seriously about 5 years ago when I imported my
Warmblood from Holland through Tina Farr (my coach) and Rien Van Der Schaft. I
am currently riding medium level and ready to go advanced. I have an amazing
horse and have many a trophy in my cabinet from him. We were Western Province
champs EM and Medium WP Musical Kur Champions. Unfortunately, he has had
some soundness issues along the way so we probably should have been a lot
further along but I thoroughly enjoy my dressage and love my horse!
Any mottos or quotes that you live by?
In this game, patience is a virtue and you need to have a lot of patience in this sport.
I have had to learn that the hard way, as in my normal everyday life I am not a
patient person and like things to be done pronto!
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