Horse Trainer Gordon Elliott Suspended for Taking Photo Sitting on Dead Horse

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 6, 2021

Turf horse race staffers prepare the starting gate prior a race at the Hipodromo de la Zarzuela outskirts of Madrid, Spain, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020.  The pandemic may have altered many habits but horse racing at the Zarzuela has changed little. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Bernat Armangue/Associated Press

The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board has banned thoroughbred trainer Gordon Elliott for 12 months (with six months suspended) after he was pictured sitting on a dead horse.

BBC SportGreg Wood of the Guardian and Victor Mather of the New York Times were among those who reported the board's decision on the 43-year-old Elliott, who was photographed smiling, waving and speaking on his cell phone while sitting on Morgan, a seven-year-old novice chaser who died in 2019.

Per Wood, the ban will go into effect Tuesday.

Board chairperson Raymond Groarke stated the photo "had caused considerable public dismay and anger given not only what was depicted but also the jovial demeanor and gesticulations of Mr. Elliott," per Wood.

Groarke also said Elliott "was treating the dead animal as an object of amusement" and "callously participated" in a photograph, which "given all the circumstances, was entirely inappropriate."

Elliott also provided remarks.

"I am in this situation by my own action and I am not going to dodge away from this," Elliott said, per BBC Sport.

"I was disrespectful to a dead horse, an animal that had been a loyal servant to me and was loved by my staff.

"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."

Elliott's punishment also includes paying €15,000 to the IHRB for case costs, and he cannot take part in a "race meeting or point-to-point event" for six months.