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Ramatuelle seeks to capitalise on Parker’s winning touch in Guineas

Ramatuelle seeks to capitalise on Parker’s winning touch in Guineas
Ramatuelle seeks to capitalise on Parker’s winning touch in Guineas

Christopher Head has cited the winning mentality brought by former NBA star Tony Parker as a positive influence ahead of Ramatuelle’s Qipco 1000 Guineas bid on Sunday.

The filly will have a special guest in her corner as French football World Cup winner Thierry Henry will be among Parker’s entourage on Sunday, and Head, who hails from French racing royalty himself, is looking forward to the occasion.

“Having Tony Parker in the circle is something special. He brings a sportsman’s attitude and a winning attitude and it’s really a pleasure to have him around. I can’t wait to meet Thierry Henry, too. I’m a fan of all sports,” he said.

“Generally, what I love about being a trainer is that I have access to a lot of people who have had a lot of success in life and now they have horses. I have the privilege to talk to them to find out their ingredients to success.”

Parker is a member of the Infinity 9 syndicate who part-own Ramatuelle, the Prix Robert Papin winner who will be running over a mile for the first time this weekend.

Head said: “Tony has the team in mind and knows how to push the people around him for success. It was important for me to have advice from him, he’s an athlete and I’m training athletes. He always gives very good advice. Having Ramatuelle with him is something special.”

The trainer has already proved the apple has not fallen far from the tree. His father, Freddy, is a former champion jockey who won the 1000 Guineas twice, once on the brilliant Miesque (1987) and four years earlier on Ma Biche, trained by his sister, Criquette. His grandfather Alec is a legendary figure in French racing, too.

“It is big shoes to fill, but it comes with a lot of advantage and I don’t care about the disadvantage,” he said.

Christopher Head's father, Freddy, was a champion jockey and trained the likes of Goldikova and Solow
Christopher Head’s father, Freddy, was a champion jockey and trained the likes of Goldikova and Solow (Steve Parsons/PA)

“It’s important to have your own personality as a trainer. I’m not training like my grandfather, nor my aunt, nor my father, it’s new with what we have in horse racing today but it was important to have this level of horse regarding the heritage of everything they have been teaching me from the beginning. I hope I’m not going to leave a black mark on the family. So far it is OK, I’m in the standard!

“Of course the name means so much to so many people and we have been trying to hit that expectation. When you have such a name in racing, you have to make it work. When I try something it has to work, so I keep that mentality with my horses and my team because we need to have no failure during the process.

“Of course we are working with horses, but we have to be 100 per cent sure to make the best of them.

“I had the best years of my life working for Criquette and my father, they’ve been mentors and are still helping me every day with the decisions I make. They’ve been perfect with me because they haven’t cast too much shadow on me but they are still available if I have any questions, so I want to thank them for that support and I hope to make the best out of this generation of the Head family.”

Big Rock won on Champions Day for Christopher Head
Big Rock won on Champions Day for Christopher Head (John Walton/PA)

Head has already tasted big-race glory in the UK when Big Rock put up a startling display on Champions Day at Ascot. However, the owner subsequently moved all his horses to a different trainer.

“Winning in the UK is pretty much an objective for any French trainer because it is where horse racing is the most important. The atmosphere is amazing, I’ve never felt anything like it before when Big Rock won, that was something special. If I have the horse, I will come to the UK for sure with the right horse,” said Head.

“You can’t teach a horse how to race at Newmarket before getting there but it is OK because what we see in a morning, I have a feeling the beginning of the race is the most important and looking at her I think she will be (OK) there.

“I know she’s by Justify, but I don’t know how far she will stay for now. We will just concentrate on the mile as there is a nice programme and even for sprinters, whatever happens there will be something for her but the Guineas is the main objective.”

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