By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
Leading Irish horse trainer, 43-year-old Gordon Elliott, has caused a storm in horse racing circles, as a result of a photograph on social media, showing him sitting on a dead horse, taking a telephone call.
The Irish Horse Racing Board has begun an investigation into this matter, and the British Horse Racing Authority (BHRA) has stated that it is “appalled” and described his conduct as “totally unacceptable”. The BHRA is considering its own disciplinary action and further commented as follows:
“People who work in our industry believe their values – of caring for and respecting our horses – have been deeply undermined by this behaviour.”
The Charity ‘World Horse Welfare’ described the photograph as “abhorrent”.
Although Elliott has apologised “profoundly” for any offence that the photograph has caused, Betfair, has announced that it is ending its relationship with Elliott, who has been an ambassador for the Betting Company, adding that his actions are “completely at odds with the values of the Betfair brand and our employees.”
If found guilty of bringing the sport of horse racing into disrepute, Elliott could lose his licence as a trainer.
It will be interesting to see whether such a penalty is imposed upon him by the horse racing authorities!