LAST weekend’s racing in France had everything, and you will know from reading my editorial comment in advance of the Arc that victory for Alpinista was the result I wished to happen.

The joy of the winning connections said it all – many dreams had finally become a reality in a little over two and a half minutes on the turf.

The quality of the two day’s racing, with no shortage of great stories, helped to deflect greater attention from the incident that occurred at Saint-Cloud on Friday. It was a stain on our sport. A wonderful finish to the Group 3 Prix Thomas Bryon, fought tooth and nail by a couple of very smart colts, was hardly appreciated after Christophe Soumillon’s reckless endangerment during the race.

What was going through his mind?

Thankfully, Rossa Ryan was not injured. Going at such speed, the risks to riders and horses is huge, and the sport does all it can to ensure everyone’s safe return after a race. Accidents happen, and every participant realises the risks involved with the horse racing.

What is simply inexcusable is when a fellow professional puts the life of another at unnecessary risk.

The post-race reaction was almost unanimous in terms of condemnation, and rightly so. Soumillon has paid a heavy price, and he will continue to do so for some time. It is right that he serves time on the sidelines, and in due course he will return, hopefully well chastened. He was very lucky to escape with a two-month ban, and I hope he appreciates how fortunate he was that Rossa Ryan was so quickly to his feet.

Keep it simple

On Monday I was again fortunate to be part of a small coterie of international media invited to attend the IFHA conference at France-Galop, the main points of which are covered in this week’s issue.

Events such as these are a wonderful insight into the many complexities involved with international racing, its rules, regulations and more. One day is not really enough to cover all the topics one would like to see discussed, but I was very taken with basketball superstar Tony Parker’s take on how we broaden racing’s appeal. Please watch his interview on

You can have the most grandiose ideas, spend fortunes on campaigns, and yet fail to generate the results you seek. What works in one jurisdiction might have no impact in another. However, at the heart of any campaign is to communicate passion, engage with the audience and keep it simple. The big question is – are those responsible for promoting racing actually listening?