Ruby Walsh is both ‘very sad’ and ’embarrassed’ for racing as the photograph of Gordon Elliott sitting on a dead horse continues to threaten the sport’s reputation.
Top trainer Elliott is ‘cooperating fully’ with an investigation into the incident by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board, while the British Horseracing Authority has already placed an interim ban on his runners.
Ruby Walsh ‘angry’, ’embarrassed’ and ‘sad’ after seeing Gordon Elliott sitting on a dead horse
Cheltenham Festival record-breaking jockey Walsh describes the image as ‘indefensible’
Elliott is ‘cooperating fully’ with an investigation by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board
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)
‘A picture paints a thousand words, but I think that picture only painted one – and that’s ‘indefensible,’ Walsh said told RTE.
‘When I looked at it, I felt angry, I felt embarrassed for my sport and I felt very sad.
‘I was always taught that the duty of care to the animal is as much when it is dead as it is when it is alive – that is the way I was taught to conduct myself, and it’s the way I assumed most people within my sport would conduct themselves.’
Statements from Horse Racing Ireland, the BHA and the National Trainers Federation have made clear racing’s universal shock at seeing the picture, taken on Elliott’s gallops.
Walsh added: ‘It has huge ramifications for the sport, and I feel embarrassed for the sport and I felt very sad when I (saw) that picture that the due care and respect wasn’t given to that horse.
‘As a licensed trainer, jockey or an employee of a stable yard, you are representing the horse racing industry – and the onus is on you to act in a manner that is good for the image of racing.’
On Tuesday, Rob James, a jockey who won at Cheltenham in 2020 on a Gordon Elliott trained horse, appeared in a shocking video where he appears to sit on a dead horse.
In a statement this morning, the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board said: ‘The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board are aware of further social media content circulating and the matter is under investigation.’
The British Horseracing Authority is aware of the video but there has not yet been any confirmation regarding a potential investigation.
James was scheduled to ride in the 5:20 at Gowran Park, County Kilkenny today but his horse Gentle Jolie, trained by Sean Thomas Doyle, is now listed as a non-runner. He is yet to comment on the circumstances of the video.
A sickening video appears to show jockey Rob James posing astride a horse