Leading American jockey Gary Stevens was suspended for 20 days after refusing to ride in a race in Rome yesterday.
Stevens was due to partner Sopran Foldan in the Premio Tudini, a Group Three race over six furlongs run after the Italian Derby.
But when he arrived at the stalls with the Bruno Grizzetti-trained six-year-old, who had pulled all the way to the start, he announced he did not want to ride him.
Grizzetti insisted that the horse should run and he finally raced with Silvano Mulas in the saddle, finishing 14th of 16.
Stevens, who is riding in Europe this season for Andre Fabre, will begin his ban on June 7, the day after the French Derby.
He said: “It’s a scandal. I’m never going to ride in Italy again.”
Stevens plans to appeal against the ban.