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Soumillon ruled out of Hong Kong meeting

Christophe Soumillon has been ruled out of Sunday’s Longines International Races at Sha Tin.

Soumillon will not be permitted to ride by the Hong Kong Jockey Club as he has yet to receive an “unconditional release” from his Covid-19 quarantine period.

A HKJC statement read: “The Hong Kong Jockey Club has been informed by Christophe Soumillon that he has been requested by the Department of Health to undergo further Covid-19 tests.

“It is unknown at this stage when the testing will be completed and when Soumillon will be released from quarantine.

“Soumillon was licensed by the Club on the basis that he would undergo a mandatory 14 days quarantine under the Compulsory Quarantine of Persons Arriving at Hong Kong from Foreign Places Regulation.

“Soumillon arrived at Hong Kong on November 26 and commenced this 14 days 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 had been due to take part in the four Group One features in Hong Kong, as well as riding five horses in supporting races.

Ryan Moore will now take over aboard Admire Mars in the Hong Kong Mile, with Zac Purton stepping in to partner Japanese runner Normcore in the Cup.

Soumillion’s intended Vase mount Ho Ho Khan will now be ridden by Vincent Ho and Alexis Badel will be on Computer Patch in the Sprint.

It is the second time Soumillon has been forced to miss a high-profile international meeting this year, with a positive Covid-19 test having also ruled him out of last month’s Breeders’ Cup meeting.

Soumillon ruled out of Breeders’ Cup following positive Covid-19 tests

Christophe Soumillon will be unable to ride Tarnawa in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf after twice testing positive for Covid-19 – and will be replaced by Colin Keane.

Trainer Dermot Weld confirmed both Soumillon’s positive tests and that dual Irish champion Keane will therefore take the ride on the Aga Khan’s four-year-old filly in Saturday’s Grade One race at Keeneland.

“Unfortunately, he is positive for Covid-19,” said Weld.

“He was tested twice and came up positive both times. So Colin Keane will deputise.”

Soumillon had ridden Tarnawa to back-to-back Group One victories in both the Prix de l’Opera and Prix Vermeille at ParisLongchamp over the past two months.

Keane, who has not previously ridden her, is at the Breeders’ Cup to partner Siskin in the Mile – having this week claimed his second Irish title to add to his 2017 success.

Tarnawa is currently second-favourite, behind Aidan O’Brien’s multiple Group One-winning mare Magical, for the 12-furlong Turf.

Tarnawa takes Vermeille honours for Weld and Soumillon

Tarnawa struck Group One gold for Dermot Weld in the Prix Vermeille at ParisLongchamp.

The Aga Khan-owned filly won at Group Three and Group Two level in 2019, and made a successful return to action when winning the Give Thanks Stakes at Cork for the second season running last month.

With Give Thanks runner-up Cayenne Pepper impressing in the Blandford Stakes at the Curragh earlier in the afternoon, Tarnawa was a 5-1 shot for her French assignment, with Jean-Claude Rouget’s Raabihah all the rage as the 5-6 favourite.

Ridden by Christophe Soumillon, Weld’s charge travelled with zest for much of the mile-and-a-half contest before throwing down her challenge in the home straight.

Tarnawa displayed a bright turn of foot inside the final two furlongs and was ultimately well on top at the line.

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Raabihah made late gains to fill the runner-up spot, just ahead of Ed Vaughan’s Dame Malliot, who ran a fine race from the front under Frankie Dettori.

Weld was represented on course by his son Mark, who told Sky Sports Racing: “It’s absolutely fantastic – she’s a wonderful filly. Thank you so much to His Highness the Aga Khan, his family and all his team.

“This is a very prestigious race. She’s a very good filly and deserved the step up to a Group One.

“She was very impressive last time at Cork, so we were hopeful.”

Whether Tarnawa returns to Paris next month for either the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe or the Prix de l’Opera is up for discussion.

Weld added: “I’ve spoken to my father and we have to talk to the Aga Khan’s team. Today was the day for now, but she was so impressive, so it (Arc) is a possibility.”

Dermot Weld said from the Curragh “It was always the plan to have an autumn campaign with her.

“When she came back to me from Giltown Stud she was in great condition and she won the Group Three from Cayenne Pepper (who won the Blandford) which was a real performance and it was a beautiful performance today.

“I purposefully targeted the second half of the year. I’ll speak to His Highness the Aga Khan and Pat Downes (racing manager) and we’ll come up with a plan for her.”

Despite the reverse, Rouget was not ruling anything out for Raabihah.

He said: “She ran well, but now she is against tougher rivals. She is changing category, she has proved that she is the best three-year-old filly in France.

“We will see how she is over the next two weeks, but if she is well in herself she will run in the Arc.”