COUNTY Meath trainer, Gordon Elliott was last Friday banned for a year and the trainer will also have to pay costs of €15,000 after he was found guilty of bringing racing into disrepute. Six months of that sentence will be suspended. He will not be appealing the decision.
The hearing, which took a lengthy period, was held at Naas racecourse with the location not disclosed in advance of the hearing. Elliott’s ban is under Rule 272(i), which relates to someone within Irish racing’s jurisdiction acting in a manner, which is “prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct or good reputation of horseracing”.
Elliott has twice been leading trainer at the Cheltenham Festival, but no horses will run under his name later this month.
Elliott said: “I accept my situation and my sanction and I am satisfied with my engagement with the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board. It is not an easy job to sit on the panel, but I was dealt with fairly. I am in this situation by my own action and I am not going to dodge away from this. With my position in the sport, I have great privileges and great responsibility. I did not live up to that responsibility.”
The Referrals Committee comprised of Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, Mr Nick Wachman and The Hon. Mrs Justice Siobhan Keegan and convened to consider the referral of Mr Gordon Elliott (Trainer) following an Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) investigation into an image circulating on social media. Having considered the evidence, the Referrals Committee found Mr
Elliott in breach of Rule 272(i) in that he acted in a manner which was prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct and good reputation of horseracing. The decision was read out by Mr Justice Groarke.
Following confirmation regarding the 12-month suspension – the last six months of which are suspended – imposed by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) on Irish-licensed trainer Gordon Elliott, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has issued the following statement: “We welcome the fact that the Irish authorities have acted swiftly. The suspension will be reciprocated here in Great Britain. The existing restriction on Mr Elliott having runners in Great Britain will stay in place until the suspension takes effect on March 9.
“The IHRB Referrals Committee pointed to the fact that the photo showed appalling bad taste and demonstrates a complete absence of respect for the horse. We endorse these comments, and the view that respect is an integral and essential part of the duty of those in charge of animals.
“Today’s decision confirms that horses will not be able to run at the Cheltenham Festival or Grand National Festival in the name of Gordon Elliott.”
It was announced at the weekend that Denise Foster will hold the license at the premises as of Monday past and said: “I am honoured to take over from Gordon and realise he is a hard act to follow. I am delighted by the contacts I have had with the owners and staff to date. This is a great responsibility, but I could not ask for a better set up. I will take charge from Monday.”
Foster at the start of the week advised she will not attend the Cheltenham Festival due to the prevailing Covid restrictions to oversee the runners from the Cullentra stables.
Elliott has lost the stable’s yard sponsor and Betfair has terminated his role as Betfair Ambassador, while the top class team of Cheveley Park Stud horses have been moved to other trainers – namely Henry De Bromhead and Willie Mullins. It’s the second high profile Turf Club hearing in recent weeks, with trainer Charles Byrnes also getting a six-month ban for leaving a horse unattended at Tramore racecourse stables, contrary to the rules. Gordon Elliott will remain able to assist Foster in the training of the horses.
A date has yet to be set for the hearing regarding Rob James and a similar photograph by the Turf Club.
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