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Ruby Walsh: My sadness, anger and embarrassment over Gordon Elliott photo

Tue 2 Mar 2021

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.

Dual Grand National-winning and Cheltenham Festival record-breaking jockey Walsh, a regular presenter for Racing TV, describes the image – posted on Twitter on Saturday night – as “indefensible”.

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: When I looked at it, I felt angry, embarrassed for my sport and very sad (PA)
Ruby Walsh: When I looked at it, I felt angry, embarrassed for my sport and very sad (PA)

Speaking on RTE, Walsh said: “A picture paints a thousand words, but I think that picture only painted one – and that’s ‘indefensible.’

“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.”

Read more on Gordon Elliott:

Elliott barred from having runners in Britain

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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