Italian jockey Fabio Branca suspended for 40 days for punching rival in the face

Horse Racing Fabio Branca jockey
Fabio Branca: the Italian jockey has been banned for 40 days for punching rival Claudio Colombi. Photo: Ippodromo Capannelle

By Jon Lees

Italy: Top jockey Fabio Branca has been suspended for 40 days and fined over a fight that ended with fellow jockey Claudio Colombi being taken to hospital.

Branca had initially denied attacking Colombi but, according to the Capannelle stewards’ report, the G1-winning rider said “he hit Colombi with a punch in the face”.

Colombi was discharged from hospital on Sunday where he underwent a CT scan and was treated for facial injuries sustained in  the altercation which followed the second race at Capannelle on Friday.

Branca, a multiple big-race winner over a 15-year period and best known as the regular partner in Italy of G1 winners Jakkalberry and Dylan Mouth, was referred to a disciplinary commission, given a 40-day suspension and received the maximum fine of €3,184 (£2,700).

The stewards report, seen by Corriere dello Sport, said: “Branca confirmed that he had hit his colleague Colombi in the face in the jockeys room fully recognising his responsibility for what happened”.

It said Colombi had reported that he was suddenly hit “with a punch in the face by his colleague”. 

Other jockeys riding at meeting said they had not seen the incident and only knew about it when they noticed “Colombi on the ground with a copious loss of blood, without knowing the reasons, and in the immediate vicinity the presence of Branca”.

Colombi secured his biggest success last year when winning the Italian Oaks on Auyantepui.

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