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Karen McLintock takes break from horse racing to aid mental health

Thu 25 Jun 2020

Trainer Karen McLintock has decided to take a break from the sport to focus on overcoming mental health issues.

McLintock, based in Northumberland, has been suffering since a road accident she was involved in back in March 2019 which resulted in one of her horses, Rockwood, dying.

In February she downsized in the hope she would find things easier – but Zabeel Star, who won at Beverley on Tuesday, is set to be her final runner for the foreseeable future.

Last June, McLintock was denied an emotional victory in the Northumberland Plate when her stable star Dubawi Fifty finished a narrow second to Who Dares Wins. He is now set to head to the pre-training yard of Jason Maguire, racing manager to owners Paul and Clare Rooney.

“I was still cheering home Zabeel Star as loud as anyone – I haven’t lost the enthusiasm for that part of it, I just feel really tired all the time,” said McLintock.

“I thought doing less horses would be easier – but I’ve still got to get up and see to them every morning and see them on a night, and you do that whether you’ve six or 12 horses.

“Racing is my life, and that is pretty scary thinking about it. When the horses are gone, I don’t know what I’ll do – but I need a rest.

“I can’t take off for the day and forget about them – it seems there’s always something to worry about. I still don’t sleep well.”

McLintock has therefore accepted she should take the advice of those who care most and have suggested she take a break.

“It was Zabeel Star’s owner who rang and could tell I was upset,” she added.

“He rang back later and said he was calling as a friend, not an owner, and that I needed a break. I feel like I’m letting people down – which is why it’s so hard.

“My sister has been saying it – but you tend not to pay attention to your siblings! But I need to do something about this – otherwise I’ll get into a hole I won’t be able to crawl out of.

“I’m not saying I’ll never be back – racing is hard to stay away from.”

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