01 October 2022

France Galop boss admits discomfort over Christophe Soumillon situation

01 October 2022

Olivier Delloye, France Galop’s chief executive, admitted his discomfort as Christophe Soumillon returned to the saddle at ParisLongchamp on Saturday, just 24 hours after being handed a sizeable suspension at Saint-Cloud.

Soumillon was banned for 60 days after the stewards deemed him guilty of dangerous riding aboard Syros in the Prix Thomas Bryon Jockey Club de Turquie on Friday.

Just before the field turned for home in the mile affair, Soumillon moved towards Rossa Ryan on Ralph Beckett’s Captain Wierzba before appearing to elbow his fellow rider, with Ryan unseated from his mount after the contact occurred.

Soumillon will be banned from October 14 to December 12 but is available to ride at ParisLongchamp’s autumn highlight, where his mounts include leading Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe contender Vadeni on Sunday.

Delloye feels the situation is far from perfect and said: “I am very uncomfortable about what happened.

“Regarding the rules and any changes, we need to investigate very thoroughly and it has to take a little time.

“We are not here to invent new rules, but for the existing ones to apply.

“The current rules are as good as we can make them, but this sort of thing shouldn’t happen in racing. It’s the kind of thing that really shouldn’t happen.

“For there to be any changes, it would need an appeal from somebody in England, such as the jockey.”

I don’t speak about this any more, I’ve said what I have to say

Soumillon publicly apologised following the incident, insisting he had not tried to unseat Ryan, and after finishing third aboard Duke De Sessa in the first race the track on Saturday.

He said: “I don’t speak about this any more, I’ve said what I have to say.”

Ryan was back in action at Ascot on Saturday and admitted he was relieved to have escaped injury in the fall.

He said before racing: “I’m fine. I was a bit stiff this morning, but I’m all right, thank God. I have just passed the doctor.

“Look, it was something that happened that probably shouldn’t in racing, but the main thing is I’m 100 per cent and the horse I rode is fine and everyone is fine, so it is in the past and I just have to keep kicking on and keep moving forward.

“It was one of these things that happened and I don’t know what was going on in Christophe’s mind. He did apologise after. The media will have a lot to say about it.

“It was the first fall I’ve kind of walked away from thinking I was very lucky, with the way I landed. I was very lucky, but I live to fight another day, but there was somebody looking down on me and they looked after me.

“It is something all jurisdictions will have to look into, but I have been just the lucky one – and that’s the biggest thing.

“Whatever happened, that’s fine, but I was just relieved and happy that I could get on my two feet and walk away from it.”

It was one of these things that happened and I don’t know what was going on in Christophe’s mind

Ryan added: “My Dad is a paramedic and trains a few on the side. He wasn’t too happy about it, nor were my uncles. Whatever about the nudge, it was just the wallop I got on the ground. It was only a six-runner field and I don’t want to dwell on it too much to be honest.

“I’m just delighted I can come back to riding on Saturday and have a lovely bunch of rides.”

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