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Horse Racing: Leading Trainer and Dead Horse Photograph

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!

Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The Editors

The editors of  the Journal Sports Law & Taxation are Professor Ian Blackshaw and Dr Rijkele Betten, with specialist contributions from the world's leading practitioners and academics in the sports law and taxation fields.

The Editors

Managing editor
Dr. Rijkele Betten

Consulting editor
Prof. Dr. Ian S. Blackshaw

Editorial board

Prof. Guglielmo Maisto
Maisto e Associati, Milano

Dr. Dick Molenaar
All Arts Tax Advisors, Rotterdam


Mr. Kevin Offer
Hardwick & Morris LLP, London

Mr. Mario Tenore
Maisto e Associati, Milano


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