David Bass: had looked likely to be out for longer with facial injuriesPICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos)
Bass relishing Altior clash on return to action
DAVID BASS is set to return to the saddle earlier than had been expected, and is looking forward to taking on Altior in the Grade 1 Racing Post Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown on Saturday with Charbel.
The jockey looked set for a prolonged spell on the sidelines after suffering multiple fractures to his cheekbone in a fall at Ascot on November 19.
However, Bass will make his comeback less than a fortnight later at either Wincanton or Leicester on Thursday, with the former subject to an 8am inspection.
Bass said: "The swelling came down fairly quickly and it's all healed up quicker than I thought. It's less than two weeks, but I don't need my face to ride, luckily.
"It didn't look pretty for a few days and was very swollen - it looked like I'd gone 12 rounds with Anthony Joshua. I saw a specialist who saw my vision was fine and the fractures are stable enough so it's okay to ride."
Sandown instead of Aintree
Bass had a big call to make straight away as to what he should do on Saturday, with Charbel and Jimmy The Jetplane heading to Sandown, while The Last Samuri lines up at Aintree in the Becher Chase.
He opted for the Sandown route and believes Uttoxeter scorer Charbel can give Racing Post Arkle favourite Altior something to think about.
Trainer Kim Bailey, meanwhile, has confirmed in-form Brian Hughes will take the ride aboard The Last Samuri.
"It was a very hard decision," Bass said. "Altior is going to be very hard to beat, but we think we've improved since Uttoxeter and have improved a hell of a lot from last year. I'm looking forward to taking Altior on.
"The Uttoxeter run was a Graded race, really. The form is strong and I'm really looking forward to Saturday. Last year I kept saying Charbel would be better over fences, but we were still in two minds what to do with him this year. We decided to chasing and I'm glad we did."