Highly decorated jockey Christophe Soumillon has been banned for 60 days after elbowing opponent Rossa Ryan during a race, causing Ryan to fall from a horse running 35 mph. The incident happened during the Thomas Bryon Stakes at Saint-Cloud in Paris on Friday.
Soumillon was riding Syros in the six-runner race. Ryan, who was riding Captain Wierzba, was on his outside. Soumillon used his right elbow to push his competitor, who then fell and rolled three times on the grass. Ryan was fortunately not stepped on by a horse, and he was able to stand up and walk out of the track. Ryan was checked by the ambulance on site and later reported he was uninjured. Here's a look at the incident:
Syros finished the race second behind Continuous but was ultimately disqualified. Soumillon explained what happened and apologized for his actions in an interview with Sky Sports Racing.
"I received a little bit of pressure from Rossa on my outside as I tried to keep a better position behind Ryan [Moore, riding Continuous]," Soumillon said. "I put my elbow against him just to make him understand I wasn't going to the inside. Straight away I knew I made a mistake and I'm terribly sad with what happened because I hate seeing stuff like this."
Soumillon described the incident as a "terrible mistake" that occurred while he was focused on keeping his position. He said he accepts his punishment and hopes it sets an example of what not to do.
"I really want to apologise to everyone," Soumillon said. "I'm happy Rossa is fine but this was not a nice act on my side and I'm terribly sorry."
Per the Racing Post, Ryan described the incident as just "one of those things" and kept a positive attitude.
"I just got a bump and lost my balance. It's just one of those things that happens," Ryan said. "I feel disappointed for Ralph [Beckett, Captain Wierzba's trainer] 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%."
Meanwhile, The Daily Mail reported Beckett wasn't too angry either.
"He rang me to apologize," Beckett said. "It's difficult to be outraged when anyone apologizes, so I'm not."
Soumillon's 60-day ban is not set to start immediately. The punishment will begin Oct.14 and run until Dec.12, which allows him to compete at Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Sunday with three-year old Vadeni.