Disgraced trainer Gordon Elliott banned for six months in wake of dead horse photograph

DISGRACED trainer Gordon Elliott has been banned from the sport for six months after a sickening photo emerged last weekend of him sitting on a dead racehorse.

Disgraced trainer Gordon Elliott has been banned from the sport.

The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) last night handed out a one year ban – with the second half of the sentence suspended – and order to pay 15,000 euros of legal costs. It came four days after the British Horseracing Authority barred Elliott, Ireland’s second biggest NH trainer, from saddling runners at the Cheltenham Festival and Grand National meetings.

Already a number of horses, including the unbeaten Envoi Allen, have been removed from his stables while other owners, including Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud, had remained loyal.

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It was uncertain last night whether Elliott’s licence can switch to another individual so horses, like dual Grand National winner Tiger Roll, can run at Cheltenham. This is further complicated by the fact that he lives at his Cullentra stables.

Gordon Elliott and Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary after Tiger Roll's second Grand National win.

However the IHRB said, in its verdict, that it received no credible explanation from Elliott after being pictured taking a mobile phone call, and appearing to make a gesture, while sat on the Gigginstown-owned Morgan who had collapsed on the gallops.

Despite the Meath trainer attributing this to a “moment of madness”, as opposed to an animal welfare issue, the IHRB concluded: “Mr Elliott participated in the photographic exercise when he knew or ought to have known that the result might well end up in public which shows an extraordinary lack of judgment on his part, Mr Elliott has offered
no credible explanation to us.”

In considering sanctions, it said “outrage” had “been expressed by the racing and non-racing public that a horse, albeit deceased, could be treated in this manner”.

Elliott said that he accepted the sanction.

“I am paying a very heavy price for my error but I have no complaints. “It breaks my heart to see the hurt I have caused to my colleagues, family, friends and supporters. I have a long road ahead of me but I will serve my time and then build back better,” he added.

“Finally I want to thank my owners and my staff who, despite being let down by me, have been unstinting in their support. I will vindicate their faith in me.”

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