Al Shaqab explain trainer move

Al Shaqab Racing has left the door open for Criquette Head-Maarek to train its runners in the future despite removing three horses from her yard.

Criquette Head-Maarek: Has said goodbye to three Al Shaqab-owned horses.

In an interview with Paris Turf over the weekend, the Chantilly-based trainer suggested her gender may have been a factor in the racing operation’s decision to take the three horses away from her care and place them elsewhere.

However, Al Shaqab officials have stressed Head-Maarek’s gender did not influence their decision and it was based on concerns about a virus in her yard.

Khalifa Al Attiya, general manager of Al Shaqab Racing, said on Monday: “Al Shaqab had never intended for this to be the end of our professional relationship with Criquette Head-Maarek.

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“The decision was taken to move a filly away from her yard due to the virus concerns. As a result we were told that we should move the three of them together, which we did.”

Al Shaqab and Head-Maarek had previously enjoyed great success together highlighted by the back-to-back Arc victories achieved by the mighty mare Treve in 2013 and 2014.

Head-Maarek admitted she was surprised by the move, with Al Shaqab offering her little explanation.

She said: “I’ve no idea why they moved them. Of course it was a surprise. You can’t do much better than giving an owner two Arc wins.

“I’ve not spoken to anyone, they just called me a month ago and said they are going. It’s not going to change my life.

“I don’t think they will come back. They went, what can I do?

“I’ve got no clue (why), maybe in my imagination it was because I am a woman.”

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