Questions over Gordon Elliott’s continued involvement in racing refuse to disappear as the British Horseracing Authority seek clarity on licence handed to Denise Foster in wake of trainer’s ban for picture of him sat on a dead horse
The BHA are continuing to seek clarity around the licence handed to Denise Foster in the aftermath of the ban on Gordon Elliott which will cast a shadow over next week’s Cheltenham Festival.
Last Friday the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board handed Elliott a year suspension, with six months suspended, after a picture of him sitting on a dead horse emerged.
But the terms of Elliott’s suspension mean that although he has made a personal assurance that he will not go to the races, he can still live at the property at the stable.
Gordon Elliott was banned for a year, with six months suspended, for this shocking photo
That has led to questions about his continued involvement and whether Foster is merely a flag of convenience at the stable.
The BHA imposed a temporary ban on Elliott entries in Britain while the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board conducted an investigation into the case.
BHA chief executive Julie Harrington said: ‘We are really pleased that our colleagues in Ireland acted swiftly so that this isn’t hanging over us throughout the festival.
‘It’s not as simple as saying, let’s draw a line under it and move on, but the sanction is in place, our temporary ban is now lifted and those horses are free to run for other trainers.
Denise Foster (right) will take over as licensed trainer from Elliott, although questions over his involvement in racing remain
‘I’m in contact with the IHRB around understanding what those conditions are, for the good reputation of racing in Ireland and Britain.
‘I’m also making it clear what our views are, because we want to make sure that any horses that are attending are clearly not under the Gordon Elliott flag.
‘I’m waiting to hear what conditions will be applied to Denise and then we will also be able to look at, if we’re not happy, what’s available to us within our own rules.’
Asked if the BHA was considering preventing horses from Elliott’s Cullentra House Stables taking part at the festival, Harrington said: ‘At this point we’re having really good discussions with the IHRB so I’m not envisaging us getting to that point.’
Elliott can still live at the property at the stable under the terms of his one-year suspension
Meanwhile, Irish amateur jockey Rob James has been suspended for 12 months, with eight months suspended, by the Irish Horseracing Board after an investigation and hearing into the video of him climbing onto the back of a dead horse surfaced last week.
James has apologised for the incident, which took place in April 2016, which he described as ‘wholly inappropriate and disrespectful’, ahead of the hearing.
James won the Kim Muir Fulke Walwyn Chase at last year’s Cheltenham Festival on Elliott-trained Milan Native, although dead-horse video the incident had no connection to the Elliott stable.
James made an undertaking not to attend a race meeting or point-to-point during his suspension.
Rob James has also been banned after this sickening video of him on a dead horse emerged