The Aga Khan nudges restrained rider Soumillon
Christophe Soumillon has had his contract with the Aga Khan terminated with immediate effect following last week’s incident at Saint-Cloud.
The Belgian, who has been champion jockey in France 10 times and has won major races around the world, has had a controversial summer.
He first picked up a lengthy ban by winning the Eclipse at Sandown on Vadeni, allowing his mount to drift to his right shortly after the Celebration Line, narrowly avoiding a major incident.
Then on Friday at Saint-Cloud, we could see Soumillon pass to his right halfway through the Prix Thomas Bryon, his elbow outstretched, which forced Rossa Ryan on Ralph Beckett’s Captain Wierzba to be dethroned.
Soumillon was handed a 60-day suspension by the France Galop stewards, but the fact that the ban was not immediately angered angered many and he was allowed to take his mounts from top level on the Arc weekend, and then finished second in the big race itself on Vadeni.
Fortunately, Ryan escaped injury in the incident.
A shocking incident in the Prix Thomas Byron, as Christophe Soumillon nudges Rossa Ryan out of the saddle at Saint-Cloud.pic.twitter.com/9FVbzvodFc
— Sporting Life Racing (@SportingLife) September 30, 2022
A statement posted on social media by the Aga Khan Studs reads: “Following the incident last Friday at Saint-Cloud, which resulted in the fall of Rossa Ryan, the Aga Khan Studs have taken the decision to end of their mandate with Christophe Soumillon with immediate effect. .
“As of this week, Soumillon will still be able to wear the Aga Khan shirts occasionally, at the discretion of the French coaches and the Aga Khan Studs team.
“At this stage, there is no intention of retaining a jockey in France for the foreseeable future.
“Christophe Soumillon was the retained rider of the Aga Khan in France from 2002 to 2009 and from 2014 to 2022.”
Soumillon’s contract was not renewed for the 2010 season as the operation said “human relations” with the jockey had become difficult.
It came after the Belgian belittled Andre Fabre at a gala dinner in Deauville, telling those present the legendary coach was ‘so small you can barely see him’.
He later apologized for his comments.
Aga Khan race director Georges Rimaud has confirmed that while Soumillon will no longer be retained by the team, he could still be reunited with Arc runner-up Vadeni next season.
“The statement is short, simple and to the point and came out of the discussion we had with the team,” Rimaud said on Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast.
“We have decided not to renew the contract with Christophe next year and because he cannot drive for the next two months, it ends now.
“But we also say he’s able to ride our horses depending on what the trainers want to do. If they want to have him on horseback, they can have him on horseback, but he’s not under contract. .
“We’ll see what happens. I think it’s very difficult to know what will definitely happen with Christophe – I’m not sure what he’s going to do.”