Sky Sports Racing
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Christophe Soumillon moves to elbow Rossa Ryan (left) out of the saddle at Saint-Cloud
Sky Sports Racing
Christophe Soumillon has been banned for two months after an extraordinary and controversial incident in which he elbowed fellow jockey Rossa Ryan out of the saddle during a race at Saint-Cloud.
Soumillon, who later apologized for his actions, was riding the Francis Graffard-trained Syros in the Group 3 Prix Thomas Bryon when, in the back straight, his elbow made contact with Ryan, who was riding the Ralph Beckett-trained Captain Wierzba.
The contact resulted in Ryan being unseated from his mount. Ryan walked away from the incident unscathed, while Soumillon was banned for 60 days.
However, the jockey will be able to ride Vadeni in Sunday’s Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (3.05) as the suspension starts on October 14 and ends on December 12.
Après l’incident survenu (chute de Rossa Ryan) dans la première épreuve du program à Saint-Cloud, Christophe Soumillon écope de 60 jours de mise à pied.
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“It’s a very big ban. I accept the sentence for what I did, it was a terrible mistake and I have to be a future example to others,” Soumillon told Sky Sports Racing.
“I received a little bit of pressure from Rossa on my outside, I was just behind him at the time. I put my elbow against him just to let him know I was going to the inside and unfortunately when I asked my horse to stay there , he went a little bit to the right and I pushed him for a stride or two and he fell off.
“Straight away I knew I’d made a mistake. I’m terribly sad with what happened because I hate seeing stuff like this and when you’re watching that it’s even more terrible.
“I want to apologize to everyone. I’m happy that the horse and Rossa are fine, but for all the people who love racing, it was not a nice act from my side and I’m terribly sorry.”
Soumillon will miss big meetings including British Champions Day, the Breeders’ Cup and the Japan Cup, while his chance of winning the Cravache d’or – the French Flat jockeys’ championship – appears over. He is 21 winners behind Maxime Guyon.
Soumillon insisted the incident was not intentional.
He added: “I didn’t do it on purpose. I was just trying to keep my position. Maybe I did it with a little too much power, but it was a misjudgment on my part.
“I can understand the criticism, but I wasn’t trying to make Rossa fall off. I don’t understand what happened at that moment because we were going really fast, but it’s a terrible thing. I know a lot of people will not excuse me, but I feel really bad for it.”
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Christophe Soumillon was banned for 60 days after elbowing rival Rossa Ryan mid-race
Ryan told the Racing Post: “I just got a bump and lost my balance. It’s just one of those things that happens. I feel disappointed for Ralph and his team bringing him out here, but we’ll move on.
“The horse is fine, I’m fine. That’s the main thing. I’m 100 per cent.”
Syros, who finished second past the post, was disqualified.
Former jockey Andrew Thornton, who was working for Sky Sports Racing at Hexham, was highly critical of Soumillon’s actions.
He said: “When you come off at the speed and land on your feet, that’s when you go and break a leg. It’s like jumping out of a car doing 35mph.”
The Group 3 was won by the Aidan O’Brien-trained Continuous, who was cut to 20-1 (from 33) for next year’s Derby by Coral following his success.
Sky Sports Racing
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