Jockey who hit rival leaving him in a ‘pool of blood’ admits he ‘couldn’t control anger’

By Melissa Jones

A jockey who hit a rival leaving him in a ‘pool of blood’ at the track has admitted he 'couldn't control' his anger.

Fabio Branca, the rider of five winners from 22 appearances in the UK, punched weighing room colleague Claudio Colombi at Campannelle racecourse in Rome.

The incident happened after the pair had ridden in the Listed Premio Pietro Bessera on the card.

Colombi finished third on Haven Park in the mile contest and Branca was a place behind in fourth riding Ifrachy.

Columbi, who reported that he had been 'punched in the face by his colleague' leaving him 'lying on the ground in a pool of blood,' was hospitalised and doctors gave him a CT scan, as well as treatment for facial injuries.

Branca originally denied hitting his fellow jockey, but he has now released an apology.

Via, 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.

"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."

Branca, a multiple big-race winner in Italy, was given a 40-day ban and received the maximum fine of £2,700 by the sport's authorities.

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

Branca, the regular rider of Group 1 winners Jakkalberry and Dylan Mouth, has had five winners in the UK.

They were achieved at Lingfield and Wolverhampton in 2009 from 19 rides.

He also travelled over for a handful of opportunities in 2014 and 2015 – and has competed at Ascot, the home of the famous royal meeting, on three occasions.

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