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Training great Criquette Head-Maarek bows out at Chantilly

Thu 1 Feb 2018

There was no fairytale ending to Criquette Head-Maarek's glittering training career as her final runners before retirement finished unplaced at Chantilly.

The popular trainer announced last month that she was calling time on a highly successful career that lasted over 40 years and brought the curtain down by saddling two runners at her local track.

Damanda's Dream was the first Head-Maarek representative but after making most of the running, she finished last.

Monsieur Enzo was the trainer's final runner in the concluding race of the day but after encountering traffic problems, he had to make do with an honourable fourth.

Head-Maarek said: "He (Monsieur Enzo) had a very bad race, but what can you do. That's racing."

Asked if she had a message for her supporters, she added: "Thank you. Thank you for what you've done for racing because without our fans we wouldn't be here.

"I've had fantastic years of training. I can't complain and I won't complain."

Head-Maarek's achievements include winning the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe three times, twice with the mighty Treve in 2013-14.

Seven victories in the French 1000 Guineas, four wins in the English equivalent and three triumphs in the French Oaks also feature prominently on a decorated CV.

She said: "I feel a little sad. I decided to stop, so it's over, but there's always a little sadness when you come here and there are very few horses left.

"That was the decision I made and I have to cope with it."

Head-Maarek, 69, received a guard of honour from the jockeys before sending out her final runner. She was also given flowers, champagne and a commemorative trophy from France Galop president Edouard de Rothschild.

She added: "I'll be coming back (to Chantilly). Not as a trainer, but I'll be coming back.

"I don't want to cry. It's a happy day.

"Chantilly is my second-best racecourse, after Longchamp."

Head-Maarek's brother, successful trainer Freddy Head, paid tribute to his sister.

He said: "Criquette has been a pioneer for women in that business. She's had a wonderful career, she's a great lady and a very generous human being.

"I'm very happy with her. She's had a great life and she's done what she loved - being around horses.

"Time goes by and we're getting older, (but) she's done something incredible."

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