GBI RACING

Freddy Head hails 'pioneer' sister Criquette as she announces retirement

Criquette Head-Maarek Freddy Head hailed his sister Criquette Head-Maarek as a "pioneer" as he paid his tribute to the first lady of French racing following her decision to retire from training next month.
Head regularly rode for his sister when she first took out a licence more than 40 years ago and the pair struck gold in her first full season in 1978 with Sigy in the Prix de l'Abbaye at Longchamp.
The following year Head helped his sister make history when guiding Three Troikas to lift the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe as she became the first female to train the winner of Europe's most prestigious race.
They shared many big-race triumphs, including four French 1000 Guineas and the 1996 July Cup on Anabaa, before Head gave up riding to become a trainer himself.
"Obviously we had a great relationship. I had many winners and rode a lot of good horses for her,"he said.
"She's had a wonderful career, she's a great person and very generous on top of her qualities as a trainer. She's a great woman, very generous person and a lovely individual.
"It didn't really come as a surprise. It's a hard job and she wants to enjoy life a bit more. She thought it was time to stop.
"She will look after the stud (Haras du Quesnay) and there's a lot of things to do.
"She was the first woman to train at that level and has trained so many good horses and trained so many great races. She was a pioneer."

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