HORSERACING TRAINER Gordon Elliott has been punished by the IHRB after a photograph of him sitting on a dead horse emerged on social media.
Elliott had already been banned from racing or sending runners to Britain by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) pending the results of the investigation by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB).
The IHRB have now finished their referral hearing and have ruled that Mr Elliott must pay legal costs and will be banned from racing for 12 months, with six months suspended.
They released a statement confirming that the referral found that Mr Elliott had "acted in a manner which was prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct and good reputation" of the industry.
Elliott has been the subject of huge anger by animal rights activists and the general public after the photograph emerged of him sitting on the body of the horse while talking on the phone, smiling and seemingly posing for the camera.
Elliott however, insisted that it was simply a "moment of madness" and he sat down without thinking, and that he was signalling tot he photographer to wait until he was finished his phonecall.
"I was standing over the horse waiting to help with the removal of the body, in the course of which, to my memory I received a call and, without thinking, I sat down to take it. Hearing a shout from one of my team, I gestured to wait until I was finished. "
He later issued an apology to the Racing Post saying what he had done was 'horrific' and 'wholly inappropriate'.
In the statement, the IHRB acknowledged that the photograph caused "considerable public dismay", and the IHRB had received "an avalanche of complaints .... the matter was rightly and fully scrutinised in the media".
"We have considered all of the written and oral evidence provided by the IHRB and Mr Elliott," the statement issued reads.
"Much of the evidence is uncontroversial as Mr Elliott has accepted hat his conduct was disgraceful', 'horrific' and 'wholly inappropriate and distasteful'.
"He also accepts that his conduct was indefensible and inimical to the reputation of horse racing and he recognises the damage he has caused to the reputation of horse racing."
Mr Elliott will be banned from racing for 12 months, with the last six months suspended, and must pay €15,000 in legal costs.
The suspension of Mr Elliott's training license is "merited", the IHRB said, "to reflect the seriousness of this offence and the damage to the Irish racing industry".
Gordon Elliott himself has issued a statement on Twitter where he says he 'accepts his situation and his sanction'.
While he says he is paying "a very heavy price for my error", he has "no complaints" and accepts the ruling by the IHRB, saying "I am not going to dodge away from this".
"I have a long road ahead of me but I will serve my time and then build back better," he wrote.
He went on to say that horses are "my life ... I love them", and that he went into the industry for his love of horses rather than the money.
— Gordon Elliott (@gelliott_racing) March 5, 2021
"I was disrespectful to a dead horse, an animal that had been a loyal servant to me and was loved by my staff," he continued.
"I will carry the burden of my transgression for the rest of my career. I will never again disrespect a horse living or dead and I will not tolerate it in others."
He went on to thank the owners and staff for their support.