Gordon Elliott BANNED for six months over dead horse photo that shocked sport

GORDON ELLIOTT has been banned from racing for six months after his dead horse photo shame.

The three-time Grand National-winning trainer, 43, was served the punishment at a hearing with the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board.

A ruling of 12 months with the final six months suspended was handed out for his 'extraordinarily foolish' actions.

The conclusion of a four-page IHRB statement posted at just after 5.30pm read: "We consider that a suspension of Mr Elliott's training licence is merited.

"In all the of the circumstances of this case, to reflect the seriousness of the offence and the damage to the Irish racing industry, to deter other offences of this nature and having taken into account the mitigating factors we have heard we consider the period should be 12 months however the last six months of this will be suspended."

The IHRB added they had received an 'avalanche of complaints' and said the matter 'was rightly and fully scrutinised'.

Elliott accepted his conduct was 'disgraceful, 'horrific' and 'wholly inappropriate and distasteful'.

However, the statement also made clear that chiefs believe the 'sinister' leaking of the photo, taken in 2019, is part of a 'concerted attack' on the trainer.

The trainer, one of the most famous and successful in racing, shocked the sporting world with the photo of him straddling a corpse.

He has twice apologised for his 'indefensible moment of madness' and said that he 'wasn't thinking' when he sat on the horse.

The past week has been a whirlwind of hell for the Irish trainer since the image went viral on social media last weekend.

Betfair were first to cut ties before Cheveley Park Stud removed eight of their horses from Elliott's yard and placed them with two rival trainers.

One of those was unbeaten superstar Envoi Allen, a red-hot favourite for Cheltenham Festival, which begins on Tuesday week.

Elliott also lost a sponsorship deal with multi-millionaire racing tycoons Noel and Valerie Moran.

However, the couple, along with Ryanair boss and Gigginstown supremo Michael O'Leary said in the immediate aftermath of the photo's release that they would stand by Gordon.

Elliott's ban could force them to remove their horse from his Co Meath base.

Reports claimed Elliott could still have his horses run at Cheltenham if a caretaker took charge of his yard.

Elliott is believed to employ around 80 people and there were fears for their futures as collateral damage from the photo's fallout.

Stable jockey Jack Kennedy admitted today Elliott's staff were 'devastated' at seeing the horses leave.

The dead horse photo came in a torrid week for racing, which also saw the emergence of a video showing jockey Rob James riding a dead horse.

Amateur rider James, who rode a Festival winner for Elliott last year, said he was 'heartbroken' by the damage done by the video.

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