Soumillon to miss International rides after failing to satisfy Covid protocols
Christophe Soumillon will miss his rides in Sunday’s valuable Hong Kong International Races after it emerged the star rider needs to undergo further Covid-19 testing before being cleared to leave quarantine.
Unlike the European jockeys who are in a ‘racing bubble’ having competed in Wednesday night’s International Jockeys’ Championship at Happy Valley, Soumillon, who has been granted a licence to ride in Hong Kong until February 14, chose to complete the standard 14-day quarantine all arrivals need to undertake before entering the community.
Despite clearing five tests before his arrival in Hong Kong on November 26, Soumillon, who was due to have nine rides on Sunday’s card, will instead watch from the sidelines after failing to satisfy the strict regulations in place.
The shock news released in Hong Kong late on Thursday night was a further Covid-related setback for Soumillon who missed the winning rides on Order Of Australia and Tarnawa at last month’s Breeders’ Cup meeting in Keeneland after returning a positive test.
“The Hong Kong Jockey Club has been informed by jockey Christophe Soumillon that he has been requested by the department of health to undergo further Covid-19 tests,” the Club said in a statement.
“It is unknown at this stage when the testing will be completed and when Soumillon will be released from quarantine.
“Despite having cleared his initial Covid-19 test on his arrival, he has yet to receive an unconditional release from quarantine in order to ride on this coming Sunday.
“The club has taken advice from its chief medical officer. Given these circumstances the stewards have decided to stand him down from Sunday’s riding engagements.”
Soumillon, 39, had been due to take part in the four Group 1s at Sha Tin and Ryan Moore will now take over on defending champion Admire Mars in the Hong Kong Mile.
Zac Purton will ride Normcore in the Cup, Vincent Ho takes over on Ho Ho Khan in the Vase and Alexis Badel will be on Computer Patch in the Sprint.
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