Eric Lemartinel has said he leaves President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed’s Al Asayl Stables with many "great memories" after his contract was not renewed for the new season.
Lemartinel saddled 185 winners for Al Asayl over six seasons, highlighted by the €1.2 million ($1.43m) Group 1 Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown, the world's richest race for Purebred Arabians.
A former jump jockey and trainer in France, Lemartinel arrived in Abu Dhabi to take charge of the stable at Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club in 2006. He made an immediate impact by saddling 10 winners with a limited number of horses.
Lemartinel has saddled 312 winners and an additional 622 in either second or third so far in the UAE. He also holds the honour of winning all seven Group 1 prizes in the country for Purebred Arabians.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the great moments as a trainer in Abu Dhabi for more than 15 years and certainly would like to continue working here, provided I get the opportunity,” Lemartinel told The National.
“I spent six wonderful seasons at Al Asayl and the experience of managing a high-profile big stable.
“Of course I’ll miss the good times at Al Asayl and it’s not unusual to lose a job as a trainer. I am now looking ahead and moving on with life. A few people have spoken to me already but it is too early to comment on those developments.”
Lemartinel’s has saddled more Arabian Group 1 winners than any other in the country.
The Jewel Crown in 2016 with RB Burn, in the colours of Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa, and the 2008 Dubai Kahayla Classic with Mizzna for Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed are among his many highlights.
“The Jewel Crown and the Kahayla easily stand out of the Group 1 prizes in my career so far,” Lemartinel said. “That’s not all. I loved this place from the time I arrived in Abu Dhabi. I have lots of great memories of this place that I can cherish all my life.
“Hopefully I can continue to live and train here. Other options to move to a neighbouring Gulf state is also a possibility as Arabian racing is now well established in the region.”
Other Group 1 prizes of Lemartinel's career include the President’s Cup, National Day Cup, and Emirates Championship in Abu Dhabi, and the three rounds of the Al Maktoum Challenge series in Dubai.
“Racing was well established when I first arrived here and it has only got better over the years,” he said. “Moving from Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club after nine years to Al Asayl was a big step up, and to spend six seasons at a high-profile stable is an experience I can take forward."