Riding over the Derby course and distance is an opportunity not many jockeys are able to enjoy during their career, but Joanna Mason knows Epsom’s unique undulations better than most thanks to the exploits of ten-year-old Tapis Libre.
The pair won the race for the first time in 2013 and has won the last two renewals. Joanna told the Racing Post before the race,
“It’s absolutely brilliant to be able to ride the Derby course. It isn’t the easiest; if you have a horse who hasn’t been there before it can be a worry. They have to handle everything – the slope, camber, uphill and downhill parts. It’s special to ride there but even better to win.”
Joanna’s win on the horse makes this victory a real family affair. The horse is owned by her mum and the Laura Mason Syndicate. Joanna explained,
“He was syndicated out last year when my sister was really ill and we were told she wasn’t going to make it. She pulled through and so we got the syndicate together in her name. They have four horses now and this is their first win.
Trainer Mick Easterby is Joanna’s grandad, to which she added, “It’s a big family affair, grandad supports us and gives us advice – even when you don’t want it!”
On Tapis Libre she reflected,
“He’s so genuine and he loves the course here, he’s won the race four times now. I knew they’d gone a good gallop and from the furlong to the finish is a little bit of a pull and he just battled on.”
On his record at Epsom Downs she added,
“He’s such galloper, it’s the up, the downs and round – he loves it. Hopefully you’ll see him again next year.”