There has been a new twist in the case of champion jockey Christophe Soumillon, who now faces the prospect of the current two-month sentence he is serving being extended to an as-yet-undetermined period or even overturned.
Soumillon was handed a two-month ban after seemingly unceremoniously elbowing team-mate Ross Ryan out of the saddle at a race in Saint Cloud, France, in late September.
There was some outrage at the time that the punishment given was not more severe.
A contrite Soumillon accepted his sanction, apologised, and also compensated the association of the horse Ryan was riding and covered the cost of bringing the horse from Britain to race in France… and it seemed to be the case.
But in a surprising new development, as reported by French racing publication Jour de Galop, the Police des Jeux (a government agency) has contacted France Galop and asked Soumillon to extend the current two-month suspension to a maximum of six months or issue Soumillon’s license. withdrawn indefinitely.
The “Police des Jeux” is the French gambling police that oversees the activities of casinos and racetracks.
As reported by Jour De Galop, the letter from the Police des Jeux France Galop made reference to the fact that they believed “(Ross Ryan’s) fall was not accidental, but was caused by Christophe Soumillon” and said: “This behavior is voluntary and dangerous.”
The content of the memo also allegedly described Soumillon’s “willful” and “dangerous” behavior as a “serious risk to public order within the races”.
It is now up to Soumillon to formally respond to the concerns raised by the Police des Jeux.
His submission must be directed to France Galop, who will then forward Soumillon’s submission to the Police des Jeux, who will in turn forward it to the French Ministry of the Interior… this is a very important final step in the process, as any license issued by France Galop must first be approved by the French Ministry of the Interior.
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