With Women’s Day this week, Racing Express will use the month focusing on women in horseracing. Ken Nicol had a chat to trainer Candice Bass-Robinson.
Q: What is your field of responsibility within the sport of horse racing?
A: I am a racehorse trainer. I started out as a stable employee and then was assistant trainer to my father Mike Bass over a period of 15 years, before taking over from him a year ago. I also take part in dressage at a competitive level and own two Dutch warmbloods for this purpose.
Q: What is it about your involvement that you love, or are passionate about?
A: The horses themselves of course. I have ridden from a very early age. I also love the thrill of competition, which is far better when you win of course.
Q: As a woman, do you go about your work any differently from your male counterparts? If so, how?
A: I really don’t think so. I think in general women are more compassionate, and pay more attention to detail, so I suppose in that sense. There are also differences socially, but not so much in terms of doing the job.
Q: Do you take inspiration from other women, even historical figures outside of racing? If so, who and why?
A: In terms of riding it would have to be Charlotte du Jardin, the British Olympic dressage multiple gold medal winner. I have found it very inspiring the way she has achieved so much from humble beginnings through hard work, dedication and, of course, huge talent.
Q: What advice do you have for women wanting to get into the sport of horseracing?
A: It’s very hard to break into the training ranks as without quality clients you have no chance. You have to be 100% dedicated and passionate as this game tends to consume your whole life. You need to be patient and be able to handle pressure.
Q: What words of inspiration do you have for other South African women?
A: Women can achieve and do as much as males, and there is no reason for women not to reach the top. You can achieve anything you want to as long as you are prepared to give it everything.