Belgian jockey Christophe Soumillon has been handed a two-month ban for elbowing Irishman Rossa Ryan off of his horse in a race at Saint-Cloud racecourse in France.
Soumillon was riding the Francis Graffard-trained Syros while Ryan was commandeering Captain Wierzaba for trainer Ralph Beckett.
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The two were locked in a tussle on the back straight when 22-year-old Ryan looked to move inside, but Soumillon stuck out his elbow to push his rival away.
Ryan then lost his balance and was sent tumbling to the ground in frightening scenes as Soumillon continued on, although his horse was immediately disqualified by stewards in the aftermath.
Sky Sports commentator Jamie Lynch was stunned by the events.
“Oh, wow, Soumillon put the elbow out there,” Lynch said.
“Oh, dear me. I haven’t seen that before, I don’t think I’ve seen that before in a race.”
Soumillon is, rather remarkably, free to race in the $AUD6.9 million Arc de Triomphe race on Sunday as his ban does not take effect until October 14.
However, the Belgian was extremely apologetic for his actions during the race.
“I put my elbow against him just to make him understand I wasn’t going to the inside,” Soumillon said.
“Unfortunately when I asked my horse to go there and to the right I pushed him (Ryan) for a stride or two and he fell off. Straight away I knew I made a mistake.
“I’m terribly sad with what happened as I hate seeing stuff like this. When you are the one doing it you feel even more terrible.
“I want to apologise to everyone. I just saw Rossa and he is fine and the horse is too. It was not a nice act on my side and I am terribly sorry and want to apologise.”
“I just received a big suspension from France Galop stewards – I am going to be suspended for two months.
“My season is now gone. I accept the sentence for what I did, it was a terrible decision.
“I shouldn’t have done that and I didn’t do it on purpose to make him fall off the horse.
“I probably did it with a bit of power but it was a misjudgment from my side. I feel really bad.”
Ryan, who was thankfully OK from the incident, did not appear to be angry towards Soumillon in his post-race interview.
“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 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.”