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Horse racing on CNN: Can the love of horses cure cancer?

Criquette Head-Maarek with Treve

By Matt Majendie

Twice she has been felled by life-threatening illnesses -- a brain tumor and then cancer -- and twice Criquette Head-Maarek has recovered.

For her, the secret to recovering full health is simple -- a love of horses.

"Horses were the cure when I was ill," says the veteran trainer, a pioneering female figure in the male-dominated racing world.

"With the brain tumor, the doctor told me life was 50-50, a one-in-two chance," she added, reflecting on her first serious illness in 1990.

"For me, that was enough of a chance to come back. It's like a race, you're never beaten until you cross the finishing line."

A month after surgery to remove the brain tumor, she was back working with the horses in her stable -- and did the same again following her cancer scare in 2005.

"They were my drug, my cure," says Head-Maarek, whose horse Treve will compete in Sunday's prestigious Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in Paris, where she won by five lengths last year to claim European racing's biggest prize.

"I'm not scared of dying, I've had a fantastic life and don't have any worries. A lot of people have cancer and die young but I'm 66 and have had a fantastic life. If I go, I go. I'm in life to be positive and it's important to be positive for the people around you."

Read more at CNN


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