Aga Khan Dumps Bad Boy Jockey Who Elbowed Opponent Off Horse

Posted on: October 5, 2022, 05:57h. 

Last updated on: October 5, 2022, 06:17h.

One of French horse racing’s most successful jockeys, Christophe Soumillon, has been fired by the Aga Khan for elbowing a competitor from his horse.

Christophe Soumillon
Christophe Soumillon, top left, and center, elbowing Rossa Ryan from the saddle. He has been banned from racing for six months. (Image: Getty/Sky Sports)

Soumillon was also banned from racing for six months because of the incident, which took place last Friday during the Prix Thomas Byron race at Saint-Cloud, Paris.

The jockey, 41, appeared to clobber his fellow rider, Rossa Ryan, mid-race with a flying elbow, causing him to fall from the saddle. Ryan was uninjured, but the incident stunned the racing world and led to a six-month ban from the sport for Soumillon.

When Jockeys Attack

On Tuesday, Soumillon’s contract with revered racing and breeding operation Aga Khan Studs (AKS) was torn up. The billionaire Aga Khan is France’s most influential owner-breeder and a record winner.

“Following last Friday’s incident at Saint-Cloud, which resulted in the fall of Rossa Ryan, the Aga Khan Studs have taken the decision to cease their retainer with jockey Christophe Soumillon with immediate effect,” AKS said in a statement.

“From this week onwards, Soumillon may still ride in the Aga Khan silks on occasion at the discretion of the French trainers and the Aga Khan Studs team. At this stage, there is no intention to retain a jockey in France for the foreseeable future,” it added.

Soumillon told The Racing Post he was “disappointed” to lose his retainer with AKS but was “honored” to have held the position for so long.

I realize that I have bridges to rebuild, am determined to show commitment and desire to those owners and trainers that wish to engage my services,” he said.

It’s the second time Soumillon has been fired by AKS. The first was in 2009, when he made off-color remarks about a respected trainer during a gala dinner party.

Controversial Win

Soumillon’s 60-day suspension doesn’t begin until October 14. Controversially, that meant he was able to participate in racing over the weekend, riding “Erevann” to victory in the Prix Daniel Wildenstein on Saturday.

French racing’s governing body, France Galop, confirmed it did not want Soumillon to be there, and that it was looking at changing the rules so that future bans can be enacted instantaneously.

“We cannot be happy about what happened [Friday], and we are not happy about the bad publicity it has brought to racing. But we can only work with the existing rules,” France Galop chief executive Olivier Delloye said.

“We cannot invent new rules overnight, even following a bad situation as the one we saw on Friday. We have to apply the rules as they are and think about how they could be improved,” he added.