There has been no fairytale ending to Criquette Head-Maarek’s glittering training career as her final runners finished unplaced at Chantilly.
The popular trainer announced last month that she was calling time on a successful career of more than 40 years and brought the curtain down by saddling two runners at her local track on Thursday (Friday AEDT).
Damanda’s Dream was the first Head-Maarek representative, but after leading, 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.
“He (Monsieur Enzo) had a very bad race, but what can you do. That’s racing,” Head-Maarek told At The Races.
“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 and 2014.
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.
“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,” she said.
“That was the decision I made and I have to cope with it.”
Head-Maarek, 69, received a guard of honour by 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.
Head-Maarek’s brother, trainer Freddy Head, paid tribute to his sister.
“Criquette has been a pioneer for women in that business,” he said.
“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.”