Ladies in Racing-Candice Robinson

SA Horseracing recently took time out to find out more about the successful Candice Robinson who is a well recognized trainer as part of a series on prominent women in the horse racing industry.

What are the advantages of growing up in a family that’s involved in horse racing?
Being around horses and growing up with them gives you a good understanding of horses and also the industry. It has also made it easier for me to take over the business after so many years of being involved

When can you first remember wanting to become a trainer? and why?
I have always loved horses and enjoyed racing and riding so I guess I was destined to be here! I did however venture out into the corporate world for 7 years and then came back to racing full time.

How did your father Mike Bass influence you in your training style ?
I have learnt a lot from him over the years he was and still is an incredible horseman and had a knack of getting horses fit and strong enough to run their best races on the big days and his horses all trained on very well through their careers.

What do you deem as the best piece of advice that your father has offered you in terms of your training career.
Never doubt yourself and what you do. Work hard and trust your judgement.

What are the qualities or attributes that a trainer needs to have in order to be successful in this game?
You need a lot of patience, a good understanding of horses and horsemanship, hardworking and you need to be a strong person, as this is a very stressful industry with long hours and takes dedication.

How many horses do you have at the moment?

What are some of the best horses you have helped to train or currently train?
Pocket Power was the best horse we have trained but there have been many more very good horses, I have been associated with (What a Winter, Sun Classique, River Jetez, Inara, too many to mention all of them) My own horses I have trained, in my first year Nightingale, who giving me my first grade 1 winner in the Majorca stakes and Marinaresco winning the Vodacom July in my first year of training. Clouds Unfold giving me my 3rd grade 1 winner also in the Majorca

Your current highest rated horse?
Clouds Unfold

A horse we should keep an eye on this season?
Clouds unfold

Plans for him/her?
Sceptre stakes and Majorca stakes

SAF bred stallions are increasingly becoming more popular, What A Winter was a success for your establishment, what marked him as special at the time and did you believe be would succeed as a sire? How many of his Yearlings have you bought over the past few years?
Yes we did he was a very good race horse with a great pedigree. We have bought a lot of his progeny and have had great success thus far. (Clouds Unfold grade 1 winner)

What was your most memorable day in racing?
Winning the Vodacom Durban July

You raid other provinces quite often, how difficult is it, both logistically and competing against the locals whilst still balancing the cost to travel vs income for the owner?
I think the biggest factor is the AHS zoning and the restrictions it puts on traveling during the AHS season. We cannot just raid in and out from Cape Town anymore which makes it very difficult to travel and race and costly for horses to race elsewhere.

What race do you aspire to win, both locally and nationally that you haven't already?
The Met and Queens Plate

What is your favourite racetrack?

Have you ever felt prejudiced against in racing as a result of being a woman?
Not really no

Do you have a favourite sire at the moment? Have any young sires impressed you?
I like What a Winter , Duke of Marmalade fillies and Silvano and Trippi. I think we have a lot of new stallions around at the moment so hopefully one of them will be able to fill the shoes of Dynasty, Captain Al and Silvano. Flower Alley looks to be a nice up and coming stallion and look forward to seeing the William Longsword's

Which sire/sires have you invested most in at the sales this past year?
We have quite a mixed bunch in the yard, but maybe What a Winter

How do you create a balance between your professional training career and family life?
It’s not always easy as you never really get a weekend to spend with your family as we race every Saturday but I try to fit in family time where I can and my own competitive riding

What would you like to see changed in racing?
Racing needs many changes in my opinion and there are too many things to mention, I would need a few pages to get through that! I would love to see the people back on the racecourse.

What advice would give a someone keen in getting involved in racing, either as a trainer or as an owner, especially females?
Its a very exciting industry to be involved in and if you enjoy horses and a bit of adrenalin then this is where you will find that. Its not an easy industry to come into as a trainer starting from scratch but if you are passionate about making a success, work hard, don't give up and be patient!

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