Popular warrior Tapis Libre goes into battle for a 70th time on Wednesday when he attempts to defy top weight in the big race at Beverley.
Trained by Jacqueline Coward in Dalby, North Yorkshire, the nine-year-old gelding has already had a vintage season. Tapis Libre teamed up with Coward's cousin, Joanna Mason, to win the Queen Mother’s Handicap at York, after which the same partnership struck gold for a third time in the Ladies’ Derby Handicap at Epsom in July. Now attention turns towards claiming top honours at Beverley in the £10,000 Bet totetrifecta At betfred.com Handicap at 3.25pm.
Coward said: "I could do with a few more like him in the yard – he's such a little legend. He's had a fantastic year and Joanna has done brilliantly on him this summer. I'm very proud of the pair of them. He's such a great little horse and essentially trains himself at home. He always goes out there and does as well as he can, but, like a lot of horses, once he gets to a higher rating he finds it tough. The Beverley race looks a decent opportunity for him, though, and the prize-money is good. He's been in fine form since his last run so we'll go out there and see what we can do. The season is nearing its end so it will be a dream if he can win another race before the year is out."
With amateur rider Mason ineligible for the ride, young 7lb claimer Harrison Shaw receives the leg-up aboard Tapis Libre. Shaw has already ridden the son of Librettist three times and did the steering when the horse finished down the field at Ripon just over a fortnight ago.
Coward added: "Harrison is based with Granddad (Mick Easterby) and is a good lad. He's improving all the time and is very keen to listen and do the right thing by the horses, which is very important."
Tapis Libre takes on seven rivals in the mile-and-a-half handicap, including last-time-out scorers Bolder Bob and Overhaugh Street. The consistent Medalla De Oro represents Peter Chapple-Hyam, while Auxiliary, Serenity Now, Marmion and Clenymistra complete the line-up.
Beverley’s eight-race card – the penultimate fixture of the season at the attractive East Yorkshire circuit – begins at 1.50pm and is supported by totepool.