Abu Dhabi: Visiting French trainer Jean-Francois Bernard says he is keen to return to the UAE, when he hopes to win some Group One races including the Kahayla Classic on Dubai World Cup night.
Bernard, who has won four races in the Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Racing Festival including the three-race series with Muqatil Al Khalidiah for the Saudi-based Al Khalidiah stables, is in Abu Dhabi for today's final race of the Shaikh Zayed Cup.
"I trained here for a season but I am certainly looking to come back," he told Gulf News yesterday.
The Frenchman, who also trains horses owned by Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs, said: "The Shaikh Mansour Festival has triggered a huge interest in Arabian racing in Europe. Many small owners are now looking at breeding and owning racing Arabians."
Commenting on horses he trains for Shaikh Mansour, Bernard picked Rami, a four-year-old gelded son of Dormane, as a potential champion.
"Rami was very temperamental but after being gelded he is better at training. But on the race track he has shown good promise winning four races this year including three in a row," Bernard said.
"Shaikh Mansour's Wathba Stud Farm in Normandy has quite a few good young horses and Rami is one such horse who can compete for some big races next year," Bernard said.
Cracking Group 1
Bernard's runners from Al Khalidiah stables are yet to make a mark in the Kahayla Classic but the champion trainer said he hoped he could crack the Group 1 race on Dubai World Cup night.
Jockey Jean Bernard Eyquem, who is also part of the four-trainer and eight-jockey group invited for the Zayed Cup finale said: "Everything connected with horse racing here in the UAE is so wonderful".
Eyquem, who got a chance to ride in Friday's Jebel Ali race meeting said: "That was a great experience. The course was very challenging with an uphill finish."
"This is the first time that we have all come as a group and the interaction has been a great experience.
"I have to thank Shaikh Mansour for his support to Arabian racing. I am looking forward to riding more often in the UAE," said the Frenchman, who will be riding in Qatar this season.