Robert Fayd’Herbe, one of the lynchpins of the Bass Racing organisation for most of the last 16 years, is moving to Madagascar and going into the construction industry.
He said: “I have always wanted to end up back in Madagascar. My family are there – it is only Bernard and I who are in South Africa – and when I was I last on holiday there my cousin said that his construction company needed to open a branch in the capital and did I want to run it. I don’t see a future for myself in racing the way things are going and at 35 I’m not getting any younger.”
Fayd’Herbe, as a grandson of the legendary Tiger Wright and younger brother of Bernard, naturally had race-riding ambitions. He showed talent and rode winners but his frame was too big for him to make it a career.
At Bass Racing he quickly became recognised as a safe pair of hands when horses travelled to race in other parts of the country. Those he had charge of included English Garden when that horse won the 2011 SA Classic and Jeppe’s Reef (2013 Gold Cup), the 2017 Durban July winner Marinaresco and of course the mighty Pocket Power for whom he often doubled up as a night watchman to provide added security on the eve of big races.
In 2013 he decided it was time to train on his own account and entered into a partnership with his old mentor Neil Bruss. The combination had winners at Kenilworth and Durbanville – appropriately Bernard Fayd’Herbe rode the first of them, Africa Blue – but the partnership was not economically viable and the younger Fayd’Herbe returned to his old job.
He said: “Of course I will miss the racing – I have been in it since I was 16 and it is all I have ever done – and I have put back my departure by four months. I was supposed to be leaving at the end of this month but Candice has been struggling to find an assistant to do the Durban season so I told my cousin that I will see that out for the last time and then join him.”
By Michael Clower