Trainer Gordon Elliott could learn his punishment today following the shocking picture of him sat on a dead horse.
The disciplinary hearing by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board into the 43-year-old’s actions, which shocked the racing and wider world, is due to begin at 9.30am.
There is a growing acceptance that Elliott will be handed a ban and Sportsmail reported earlier this week that the three-time Grand National winning trainer is expected to accept any punishment and will not lodge an appeal.
Trainer Gordon Elliott could learn his punishment today following the shocking picture of him sat on a dead horse which emerged on social media last weekend
There is a growing acceptance three-time Grand National winner Elliott will be handed a ban
Elliott, based in County Meath, is currently suspended from entering any runners into British races, a punishment enforced by the British Horseracing Authority on Monday while the case is being dealt with by their Irish counterparts.
Leading owners Cheveley Park Stud moved their eight horses, including dual Cheltenham Festival winner Envoi Allen, from Elliott’s stable on Tuesday as the furore over the picture of Elliott sitting astride a dead horse, which emerged on social media last weekend, continued.
The BHA confirmed that owners could run their horses in this country if they were moved to other stables with the prestigious Festival on the horizon.
Elliott’s main backer, Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown Stud, continue to support Elliott after he apologised over a photograph of him sitting on a dead horse. But other owners with horses in the stable are understood to be waiting until the conclusion of an IHRB investigation to decide what they will do.
The trainer’s initial explanation that he had inadvertently sat down on the dead horse to take the phone call merely fanned the flames of the furore, despite his apology.
Speaking on Sunday, Elliott said the photo dated back to ‘some time ago’ and denied suggestions his actions had been ‘callous’, stressing that he was caught off-guard after receiving a phone call.
Owners Cheveley Park Stud moved all eight horses, including the unbeaten Envoi Allen (above), in Gordon Elliott’s care to other trainers this week
GORDON ELLIOTT FACTFILE
Trains: County Meath
Best Irish season: 210 winners (2017-18)
Cheltenham Festival Winners: 32
Grand Nationals: 3x wins (Silver Birch – 2007, Tiger Roll – 2018, 2019)
Cheltenham Gold Cup: Don Cossack (2016)
Irish Gold Cup: Delta Work (2020)
Irish Champion Hurdle: Apple’s Jade (2019)
‘I would like to address the speculation and rumours that have been rife since an old photo of me began circulating on social media yesterday afternoon,’ he wrote in a statement.
‘Firstly, I apologise profoundly for any offence that this photo has caused and can categorically state that the welfare of each and every horse under my care is paramount and has been central to the success that we have enjoyed here at Cullentra.
‘The photo in question was taken some time ago and occurred after a horse had died of an apparent heart attack on the gallops. I appreciate that an initial viewing of this photo suggests it is a callous and staged photo but nothing could be further from the truth.
‘At what was a sad time, which it is when any horse under my care passes away, my initial reaction was to get the body removed from where it was positioned.
‘I was standing over the horse waiting to help with the removal of the body, in the course of which, to my memory I received a call and, without thinking, I sat down to take it. Hearing a shout from one of my team, I gestured to wait until I was finished.’
Elliott hit out at ‘falsehoods and misinformation’ around the picture on social media but said he put horse welfare first and would continue to co-operate with the investigation.
Elliott’s main backer, Michael O’Leary’s (right) Gigginstown Stud, continue to support Elliott
‘Such background information may seem trivial at this time and will not allay the concerns of many people both within and outside the world of horse racing,’ he added.
‘However, I feel it is important to provide people with some context surrounding this photo. To the racing community, to anyone who has worked with and loves horses and to anyone offended by this image I cannot apologise enough.
‘Horse welfare and the care and attention to detail involved is absolutely at the core of everything we do here and both myself and all of my team pride ourselves on those standards.
‘Again I apologise for any offence caused and ask people to consider this statement as opposed to the various falsehoods and misinformation being circulated on social media.’
Betting firm Betfair were the first to act on Monday, removing Elliott as an ambassador and Elliott’s yard sponsor eCOMM Merchant Solutions terminated their contract.
Elliott is currently suspended from entering any runners into British races with the Cheltenham Festival on the horizon