Elliott barred from having runners in Britain pending outcome of Irish investigation

By Andy Stephens@StevoGG
Tue 2 Mar 2021

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) announced on Monday night that they will not allow Gordon Elliott to race horses in Britain while the Irish authorities investigate the shocking image that appeared on social media over the weekend.

The BHA, which regulates racing in Britain, will use powers under its own rules to refuse to allow horses trained by Elliott to race in Britain pending consideration of the outcome of the Irish investigation.

The action taken by the BHA recognises that Elliott is licensed in Ireland, whose regulatory body, the IHRB, is carrying out its own investigation.

However, Elliott has entered horses to race in Britain - including masses at the Cheltenham Festival starting on March 16 - from which point the British Rules of Racing apply to him.

Meanwhile, the trainer, 43 on Tuesday, has spoken to the Racing Post and admitted what he did "is indefensible" and accepts it was "a moment of madness that I am going to have to spend the rest of my life paying for".

 Envoi Allen is among Elliott's Cheltenham entries (Pic: focusonracing)
Envoi Allen is among Elliott's Cheltenham entries (Pic: focusonracing)

The BHA says the decision to refuse to allow horses trained by Elliott to run in Britain is "an interim decision which the BHA regards as proportionate in these circumstances".

But there would be nothing to prevent them keeping the ban in place indefintely.

The BHA added that owners of horses currently trained by Elliott are permitted to transfer them to a different trainer and run them at a British meeting, “providing they comply with the relevant rules”.

In an earlier statement, the governing body said it was "appalled" by the image which "undermined its values of respecting and caring for horses".

Elliott, who has about 300 horses in his care, remains free to have runners in Ireland. He had four winners at Punchestown on Monday.

He apologised late on Sunday night for the picture which shows him sitting on a dead horse while giving a two-fingered peace sign but on Monday the racing community spoke as one in condemning his actions.

Elliott admitted to the Racing Post on Monday night: "It is indefensible. Whether alive or dead, the horse was entitled to dignity. A moment of madness that I am going to have to spend the rest of my life paying for and that my staff are suffering for.

"I will be punished, I fully understand that. But it absolutely breaks my heart to read and hear people say that I have no respect for my horses. That couldn't be further from the truth. My whole life has revolved around horses since I was a child. I know nothing else. Horses are all I have. I came from nothing and built a dream."

He added: "When your world starts crumbling in front of you, it's a scary place to be. I just hope people can understand how truly sorry I am and find some way to forgive me for what I have done."

His formidable team at Cheltenham is set to include the unbeaten Envoi Allen, four-time Festival winner Tiger Roll, plus high-class juvenile hurdlers Zanahiyr and Quilixios. Abacadabras and Ballyadam are other leading lights for him. He also has stacks of entries in the handicaps.

However, as things stand, none would be allowed to run if the Irish investigation is not concluded. And even it is, the BHA could still choose to bar Elliott runners taking part at the Festival.

Owners with Cheltenham horses - and beyond that Aintree in April - trained by Elliott seem to have been given an early glimpse of the BHA's stance, made less than 24 hours after his admission of guilt.

Earlier on Monday, Elliott's principal patrons, Gigginstown House Stud, pledged to stand by the trainer but Cheveley Park Stud, the owners of the outstanding Envoi Allen, are delaying their next move.

A statement from them said: "We are truly horrified and dismayed by the photograph doing the rounds on social media however, we will await the official outcome of the investigation by the IHRB, which we trust will be swift, before making any further comment/decisions."

In addition to Envoi Allen, other horses Cheveley Park currently have in training with Elliott include Supreme Novices’ Hurdle contender Ballyadam, unbeaten juvenile hurdler Quilixios and leading Champion Bumper contender Sir Gerhard.

Read more:

Betfair discontinue association with Gordon Elliott following shocking photo

Gordon Elliott breaks silence over shocking photo, saying "I cannot apologise enough"

British trainers react with ‘outrage and disgust’ to Gordon Elliott social media photo

Mick Fitzgerald fights back tears as he reacts to shocking Gordon Elliott picture

Gigginstown vow to support Gordon Elliott following "unacceptable" photo

Gordon Elliott picture "does a disservice to the thousands of people who look after horses"

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