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Gordon Elliott 'will always carry burden' of his transgressions


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Gordon Elliott

Gordon Elliott

PA

Gordon Elliott

Gordon Elliott has been handed a 12-month ban, with the last six months suspended, following an Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board referrals hearing into the image posted on social media last weekend of the Grand National-winning trainer sitting on a dead horse.

In a statement issued late on Sunday evening, Elliott confirmed the image was genuine and apologised "profoundly for any offence that this photo has caused", while seeking to explain what he said was the "context" of events that led to the picture.

The image was roundly condemned by racing authorities in Britain and Ireland, with the IHRB announcing an immediate investigation and the British Horseracing Authority issuing a temporary suspension on Elliott's runners until its conclusion.

On Tuesday, leading owners Cheveley Park Stud removed their horses from Elliott, with the unbeaten Envoi Allen one of those to join Henry de Bromhead.

In addition to the suspension, Elliott was also ordered to pay costs of €15,000 (£13,000).

After considering the evidence, a statement from the IHRB referrals committee said: "There is also a sinister aspect to this case. The committee are satisfied that the publication of this photograph is part of a concerted attack on Mr Elliott, the full circumstances of which are unknown. This has been canvassed not for the purposes of defence or absolution but in order to explain the publication of a photograph that has existed since 2019."

In considering sanctions, they said: "The committee recognises that the sanction must be arrived at taking into account all of the circumstances, and the aggravating and mitigating factors including Mr Elliott's personal circumstances, in order to achieve a proportionate result."

Among the matters considered was the fact "outrage has been expressed by the racing and non-racing public that a horse, albeit deceased, could be treated in this manner".

The IHRB said Elliott had "expressed what we believe to be a genuine remorse and accepts that he is unlikely to forget this episode in his life", with the committee adding they believed he "genuinely accepts that he was extraordinarily foolish to participate in the way he did".

Elliott will not appeal the decision. In a statement, he said: "I accept my situation and my sanction and I am satisfied with my engagement with the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board. It is not an easy job to sit on the panel but I was dealt with fairly.

"I am in this situation by my own action and I am not going to dodge away from this. With my position in the sport I have great privileges and great responsibility. I did not live up to that. I am no longer the teenage boy who first rode a horse at Tony Martin's 30 years ago. I am an adult with obligations and a position in a sport I have loved since I first saw horses race.

"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.

"Horses are my life. I love them. I was disrespectful to a dead horse, an animal that had been a loyal servant to me and was loved by my staff. I will carry the burden of my transgressions for the rest of my career."

Belfast Telegraph


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