Christophe Soumillon to begin comeback from 'elbow' ban in South Africa

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Rossa Ryan suffered a horrible fall as a result of the contact with Christophe Soumillon (Image: @AtTheRaces/Twitter)
Rossa Ryan suffered a horrible fall as a result of the contact with Christophe Soumillon (Image: @AtTheRaces/Twitter)

Christophe Soumillon will end three months of self-inflicted exile when he takes his first rides since his elbow ban, nearly 6,000 miles from home in South Africa.

The ten-time champion jockey of France, who attracted worldwide headlines when he was suspended for knocking Rossa Ryan out of the saddle in the middle of a race, is due in Cape Town to ride in the prestigious L’Ormarins King’s Plate on Saturday.

He is due to partner Group 2 winner Golden Ducat in the feature, one of four horses he is declared to ride on the card. Soumillon completed a 60-day ban in December but has not ridden in a race since October 6 last year.

The extraordinary incident, from which Ryan was lucky to walk away unscathed, occurred during a race at Saint-Cloud in September when Soumillon used his elbow to unship his opponent off his horse and onto the ground.

The Belgian lost his job as the Aga Khan’s retained rider and also sat out key meetings like Qipco British Champions Day, the Breeders’ Cup plus a short-term stint riding in Japan.

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The Kings Plate, which had been run as the Queen’s Plate until the death of Queen Elizabeth II last year, is one of South Africa’s most historic racing and social occasions which was first run in 1861.

Fellow jockey Bernard Fayd’Herbe put Golden Ducat through his paces last week and told Cape Racing, “Christophe is in France at the moment, He is skiing to keep him fit and he is looking forward to coming down to this race.

“His horse worked really nicely. I was really happy with the work and I am sure it is going to put up a big performance on the day.”

Jon Lees

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