A JOCKEY who left a rival in a ‘pool of blood’ after a weighing room bust-up said he ‘couldn’t control’ his anger.
Famed Italian rider Fabio Branca, who has raced at Ascot, was banned for 40 days and fined the maximum £2700 for punching rival Claudio Colombi.
He was reported to have suffered ‘deep cuts’ and underwent tests for possible facial fractures.
Police were called to Campannelle racecourse in Rome, where Branca was, according to equos.it, led away by cops as Colombi was taken to San Giovanni hospital.
It is believed the fight was sparked by an incident during the second race on last Friday’s card.
Branca, who originally denied hitting his fellow jockey, has now released a statement apologising for the incident.
He said: “In reference to the events that took place on September 10 in the jockeys’ room of the Capannelle racecourse, I feel compelled to apologise to all horse racing categories (owners, coaches, etc) and to all those interested in the Italian gallop (bettors, enthusiasts etc) for what happened.
“My behaviour in the circumstance was truly reprehensible.
“Those who really know me know that it is far from my character to react with violent acts in the face of adverse circumstances.
“But in this circumstance, unfortunately, I have not been able to control my anger.
‘MOMENT OF ANGER’
“I do not want to deny my responsibilities and give justifications for an act that I should never have done and which is absolutely not part of my ordinary behaviour.
“I believe it is appropriate to offer my apologies to all of you because these facts, in addition to damaging me personally, risk proposing a wrong image of our entire activity, thus indirectly penalising each of you and the sport itself.
“I am not asking to be justified for my behaviour, but as a person I had a moment of anger which I handled in the wrong way.”
The official stewards’ report on the scrap read: “Branca confirmed that he had hit his colleague Colombi in the face in the jockeys’ room, fully recognising his responsibility for what happened.”
Colombi reported too that he had been ‘punched in the face by his colleague’ leaving him ‘lying on the ground in a pool of blood’.
‘POOL OF BLOOD’
Other jockeys at the meeting missed the incident but returned to the weighing room to find Colombi had lost a ‘copious amount of blood’.
This is far from the first time jockeys have come to blows.
One of the most famous was the unbelievable Breeders’ Cup brawl where one rider threatened to ‘kill’ another in 2010.
Top jockey in America Irad Ortiz Jr was fined £700 after being filmed punching rival Paco Lopez in the face three times earlier this year.
While another shocking video showed police rushing in to break up two jockeys fighting in this changing room brawl.