Christophe Soumillon launched a furious tirade at the controversial new British whip rules as he was suspended and had his prizemoney confiscated after winning Saturday’s Group One Champion Stakes.
The Belgian ace said that such a law would not have been put into place just days before the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe as it had been in Britain.
“Why do they try and cut our legs off?” Soumillion said.
“I come here and do my job and I get my suspension and have my prizemoney taken away (around 50,000 pounds, $A78,000).
“Its unacceptable, totally unacceptable.”
Soumillon’s blast came after former British champion jockey Richard Hughes announced he was handing in his licence unless the rules – which allow jockeys only five hits of the whip in the final furlong (200m) – were changed.
Soumillon, who missed Arc weekend because he was suspended, had produced a masterful ride on Cirrus des Aigles to win the Champion Stakes from So You Think and he was left dumbfounded at the end result with the stewards.
“You know you can’t focus on everything, I had So You Think to keep an eye on and I didn’t see the furlong marker,” he said.
“They should either put up a bigger board or have a bell so the jockeys can be aware of it.”
Soumillon said he had been reluctant to come over for the day because of the new rules but had felt obliged to ride Dick Turpin in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
“I have ridden him before and I wanted to honour my obligations to him,” he said.
“But now I have lost everything. I haven’t had a great season so this is money stolen from my pocket and I have to go back and tell the owners with whom I have contracts in France that I am off for five days.”
Soumillon, regarded as one of the finest exponents of his craft in the world, said it was amazing that in this day and age such people ruled racing.
“We are living in 2011, I thought we were civilised people but instead we are seemingly in the 18th century and their antique laws,” he said.
“I’m not here to whip the horse to pieces. That just isn’t me, I am here to give the horse the best chance possible and that is what I did.
“How can they (the stewards) do this to me? I am sure in any case I hit him five times and not six as I counted but then they said that I had already passed the furlong marker by the time I started hitting him.
“I won’t say whether I will never come back but this is just appalling.”
AFP AAP TURF