After 20 years as an assistant trainer to her Father Mike Bass, Candice Robinson-Bass took over the reins as head trainer in August 2016. Candice is one of South Africa’s leading racing personalities and is often requested to sit on discussion panels for her knowledgeable expertise. Candice could be described as the control centre of Bass Racing and when she is not on the training track, you will find her on the showing grounds where she competes for Western Province.
Owner and Trainer
After a short travelling stint abroad Mike returned to open his first business, The Western Province Riding School in Muizenberg, it was here that Mike’s love and passion for horses developed.
Mike trained a string of 35 horses, 15 of which took part in amateur racing at the Cape Hunt and Polo club on the flat and over hurdles. After 6 years at the WP Riding School he sold the business and left for Broadlands Stud Farm where he worked as the stud manager under the honourable Pat O’Neil for the following 2 years.
With the invaluable experience already gained, in 1976 he took out his professional training license and began with a small string of horses in Sungari Lodge, Milnerton.
Four years later Mike had his first grade 1 victory in the Clairwood Winter Handicap with the champion colt Cracker Lilly. His career over the next 30 years has made him unquestionably one of South Africa’s top trainers, with more than 100 grade victories and numerous achievement awards.
Accounts and Personality
Carol also heads up our accounts division and with 30 years of experience behind her, her opinion and decision-making is often called upon.
Trevor is the driving force behind the Bass yard. His support as the assistant trainer to Mike over the last 22 years has proved invaluable. His ability to speak fluent Xhosa has a tremendously positive effect on the staff’s work ethic, allowing for easy communication, a vital asset when dealing with over a hundred horses. Trevor’s involvement in horses began in 1967 when he joined the academy as a jockey working under Allan Higgins. He later joined Allan as his assistant trainer, working under him for the next 10 years. He joined Mike in 1987 to assist him and has never looked back since.
Melissa comes with a reputation of one of the hardest working assistants trainers around. For the most part of her career she has worked abroad only moving to South Africa 3 and half years ago. Mel started working in racing in New Zealand, where she was born. When she was 18 she worked as a strapper and work rider. From there Mel went to Singapore where she worked for 9 years travelling and riding between Malaysia and Hong Kong. Mel then left the Far East to work for Australian trainer John Sadler in Dubai where she was head lad. When he left Dubai she worked for English trainer Gill Duffield who trained pure bred Arabians to race in Dubai where she stayed with for a further 6 years. Melissa then moved to South Africa where she joined Cape based trainer Joey Ramsden, where she worked for three and a half years, before joining Mike Bass Racing.
Our regular jocks and work riders
Our work riders include Belinda Haytred, who herself is a legend in the show jumping world, and we are privileged to have had her knowledge and expertise at hand for more than 10 years. Andile Ndzongo(Shorty) plays a dual role in the yard as a groom as well as a work rider.
Mariè van der Westhuizen
Mariè van der Westhuizen joined the stable in June 2008. She is a show jumping judge and a FEI Level 1 steward. She is a member of the Western Cape Show Jumping Technical committee and also serves on the Sanesa Boland committee. Having been involved with horses for many years, Mariè assists primarily in the administration department and her enthusiasm and reliability makes her a valuable part of the team.
Website & Social Media
Tammi comes from a golfing background. Having previously worked at the River Club Driving Range with Mark for 6 years as the golf shop and membership manager it was easy for her to adapt to her new role as website manager. Tammi is responsible for Bass Racing’s online and social media presence.