Matthews pays tribute to retired Tangerine Trees

Marie Matthews (second right) with her sprinter Tangerine Trees

Matthews pays tribute to retired Tangerine Trees
By David Carr 1:58PM 21 OCT 2016

AS Coolmore and Godolphin prepare to clash yet again in tomorrow's Racing Post Trophy, there has been a timely reminder that Group 1 racing is not all about the huge bloodstock empires.

One of the more remarkable rags-to-riches stories of 21st century Flat racing has come to an end with the news that Tangerine Trees has been retired.

The cheaply-bred sprinter, who failed to attract a bid of more than 8,000gns as a yearling, won 15 times and beat off allcomers when making all in the Prix de l'Abbaye on Arc day at Longchamp in 2011.

Tangerine Trees was bred by Marie Matthews, who has owned a share in the 11-year-old throughout his racing career. She said: "It's the end of an era. He's retired sound and we want him to have a long and happy retirement. We've made the decision while he's in one piece and in good health.

"He's been a very special horse and he has taken us to places we have never dreamt of going to. He has given us so many thrills."

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Beverley-based Matthews has only two mares and bought Tangerine Trees' dam Easy To Imagine for just 5,200gns.

She said: "She had an amazing pedigree and was a big, fine mare but she was in a sale with a lot of jumpers.

"Tangerine Trees went to the October sale at Doncaster but he had been cast and had a bit of a bump on a joint. He was there to be sold but I knew he was very nice and I didn't want him to go for nothing so I bought him back for 8,000gns."

Tangerine Trees went into training with Bryan Smart and improved every season, progressing through handicaps and Pattern races before his Longchamp success.

"It didn't really sink in at the time," Matthews said. "I felt I was in a dream. We thought he had a chance, but the five-furlong track at Longchamp is so far away from the stands. I knew he was in the first three but I wasn't sure until they announced the result of the photo.

"So many British people came up and congratulated us. We were in a whirl and I thought ‘gosh, I've bred a Group 1 winner, it's amazing'.

"I'd like to thank everyone who has looked after him and helped us along the way. That includes Tom Eaves, who rode him brilliantly and shared so many special days with us – that's why we asked him to ride Tange in his last race at Pontefract on Monday."

Smart, who trained Tangerine Trees until he moved to Mick Appleby this season, said: "Everybody loved him, he was a super horse and we adored him.

"He was massive, it was like tacking up a three-mile chaser, but he was a tremendous servant to the yard and it's great that he's come out as a sound horse. Let's hope he has a long and happy retirement."

Smart still trains half-brother Alpha Delphini, who emulated Tangerine Trees by landing the Beverley Bullet last August and who is primed for a Pattern-race campaign in 2017.

"He's maturing all the time and looking better every year so we're very excited about him," Matthews said. "To have one Group 1 winner was amazing, but two would just be incredible."

    Read More at Racing Post Bloodstock

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