Gordon Elliott given six month suspension by IHRB
‘I was disrespectful to a dead horse, an animal that had been a loyal servant to me’
Gordon Elliott’s IHRB hearing was held on Friday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA
Gordon Elliott has been handed a 12 month suspension by the IHRB’s referrals committee - although the last six months of that have been suspended - after a picture emerged of him sitting on a dead horse last weekend.
The Co Meath trainer has also been ordered to pay costs of €15,000. It is being reported that contingency plans are being finalised for another licensed trainer to run his yard in his absence.
Elliott is currently barred from saddling runners in Britain by the BHA, pending the result of the hearing. He has seen horses such as Envoi Allen and Quilixios moved from his yard and won't have any runners at the Cheltenham Festival, which gets underway on March 16th.
Elliott released the following statement on Friday evening: “I accept my situation and my sanction and am satisfied with my engagement with the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board. It is not an easy job to sit on the panel but I was dealt with fairly.
“I am in this situation by my own action and I am not going to dodge away from this. With my position in the sport I have great privileges and great responsibility. I did not live up to that responsibility. I am no longer the teenage boy who first rode a horse at Tony Martin’s 30 years ago. I am an adult with obligations and a position in a sport I have loved since I first saw horses race.
“I am paying a very heavy price for my error but I have no complaints. It breaks my heart to see the hurt I have caused to my colleagues, family, friends and supporters. I have a long road ahead of me but I will serve my time and then build back better.
“Horses are my life. I love them. No one comes into racing for money - it is a hard way to make a living. We are here because we love the horses. Anyone who has visited my stables at Cullentra will see the meticulous care with which we treat our horses. I was disrespectful to a dead horse, an animal that had been a loyal servant to me and was loved by my staff. I will carry the burden of my transgressions for the rest of my career. I will never again disrespect a horse living or dead and I will not tolerate it in others.
“Finally I want to thank my owners and my staff who, despite being let down by me, have been unstinting in their support. I will vindicate their faith in me.”