December 21, 2018 News
AS stable jockey to trainer Kim Bailey, David Bass has been aboard a number of exciting horses in the last couple of years, chiefly Grand National runner-up The Last Samuri.
That horse may have moved on, but Bass and Bailey still have a plethora of talented horses to look forward to, including Younevercall in Saturday’s Grade 1 JLT Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot.
We spoke to Bass about his 2018, his prospects of a top-level success at the weekend and got the latest of some of the star names he is associated with.
As we near the end of 2018, how do you feel the year has gone?
I feel like it’s gone well on the whole. Kim’s horses have improved through the year and the quality of the horses in his yard has definitely improved too. I suppose, personally, the end of last season was slightly disappointing but it’s going in the right direction and it’s going really well at the moment. I hope that can continue for a good long time.
You ride as first jockey to Kim Bailey. Do you make a good team?
We do. We’re quite different and view things differently but we have a good working relationship. We’ve always made decisions together and it’s very much a team thing with the whole yard at Kim’s. It seems to work quite well.
Ben Pauling is one of your other main allies. What is he like to ride for?
Ben’s been a good friend for quite a while – nine years I think since we were at Nicky Henderson’s together. It’s been great to be part of the start of his career and we’ve been lucky enough to have quite a bit of success together. I really enjoy riding for him.
Younevercall steps up in grade for the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday. How do you rate his prospects?
He deserves to take his chance in a race like this. He won a handicap the other day very impressively and the handicapper has had his say in putting him up 13lb. It forces us to run in a graded race and this is the right trip and the right direction for him. That’s the thinking and hopefully he can put in a good performance.
The Last Samuri has switched stables since last season. What will it be like watching on from afar instead of riding him this season?
I’m not riding him but he’s a horse I had a lot of great days on and he’ll always have been a massive part of my career. I will always miss riding him but I still want to see him do well because he’s a lovely horse who always tries his best. I’ll be gutted not to be riding him but I really hope he runs well.
Vinndication has made a promising start to life over fences. How good do you think he is?
He’s a very good horse, there’s no doubt about that. He’s one of those horses who doesn’t stand out at home when there’s schooling or on a work morning; he only ever just does enough and saves his best for the course. Hopefully he will keep running good races through the season as we think a lot of him.
Rocky’s Surprise has been good this season. What have you made of him?
He’s really surprised me. He was a decent hurdler without getting anywhere near the level he’s shown over fences this season. I can’t believe the way he’s taken to fences with four wins from five starts and he’s jumped brilliantly every time. He’s taken his races so well too. Hopefully he can keep progressing – it’s hard to know where he’ll stop given what he’s done this season.
Global Citizen landed the Gerry Feilden Hurdle at Newbury last time. Do you think he can challenge Buveur D’Air in the Christmas Hurdle?
He’s a very good horse. I’d love to ride him at Kempton, although I don’t exactly know what the plans are for him yet. He’s a proper horse – and I mean a proper horse. He’s a very strong traveller and a quick hurdler. He’d have to take on Buveur D’Air, who looks almost unbeatable, and he has to step up but we think he can. Ben certainly thinks he can get a fair bit of improvement out of him.
And, finally, Charbel landed the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon last time. You missed the ride, but what did you make of the performance?
That was tough to watch as I’ve had so much faith in that horse for a long time. I think he’s a Grade 1 horse and I was gutted to miss his win. That said, I was very pleased for the yard and the owners and it’s been a bit of an up and down career so far. We’ve sorted out a few issues and he’s thriving now.