Gordon Elliott training operation makes profit despite ban

Regulatory board imposed penalty after finding trainer had brought the sport into disrepute

The racehorse training firm operated by trainer Gordon Elliott continued to trade profitably last year despite the fallout from the six-month training ban imposed on its owner.

New accounts filed to the Companies Office by the trainer’s G Elliott Racing Ltd show that accumulated profits increased by €17,447 to €1.45 million in the 12 months to the end of August.

Last year the firm’s 2020 accounts showed that the company had “lost some training fees and sponsorship income since March 2021 due to the director’s ban from training for six months”.

The €17,447 post-tax profit last year is a sharp decrease on the post-tax profits of €124,391 at G Elliott Racing Ltd in the previous 12 months.

The 2021 accounts cover six months of Mr Elliott’s training ban and the 2021 and 2020 post-tax profits follow post-tax profits of €15,938 in 2019, €167,496 in 2018 and €246,208 in 2017.

Underscoring the continued expansion of the Elliott training operation last year, employee numbers at the company increased from 85 to 87.

Aggregate pay to directors totalled €96,574 though the stable operation’s overall wage bill is not disclosed.

In March of last year, the horse racing world was convulsed after the emergence on social media of a photo of the trainer, who has won the Grand National and the Gold Cup, sitting on a dead horse while taking a phone call.

Within days of the old photograph surfacing, sponsors cut their ties with Mr Elliott, with some horses removed and sent to rival trainers.

Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown Stud partnership with Mr Elliott has won two Grand Nationals with Tiger Roll and stood by the trainer as the controversy engulfed the Cullentra stables at Longwood, Enfield, Co Meath.

In response to the photo, the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) imposed a 12-month ban on Mr Elliott with the final six months suspended after finding that he had brought the sport into disrepute.

The IHRB stated that the photo showed “appalling bad taste” by the trainer and a “complete absence of respect” for the horse.

Mr Elliott returned to training last September after serving his six-month ban and on the eve of his return, reflecting on the controversy, he said in an interview: “I made a mistake and deserved to be punished. It’s something I never want to happen again and would not wish on anyone.”

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times