Sports

Gordon Elliott’s ‘promise’ after being banned from racing for dead horse photo

Leading jockey Davy Russell has spoken of Gordon Elliott’s heartbreak about the dead horse photo which shocked racing and the wider community.

Russell, who rode the trainer’s former star chaser Envoi Allen to victory at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, said the picture was “so extraordinarily out of character.”

In response to the 2019 image, Elliott was banned for 12 months and fined €15,000 by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board on Friday.

Six months of the sentence will be suspended.

It has since been revealed that Denise Foster will take over the licence at Cullentra House Stables ahead of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival.

Writing in his Star Sports blog, Russell said he stands by Elliott, who has “promised to vindicate the faith all his close supporters have in him.”

“I can assure you that the person now most upset about it (the photo) is Gordon,” he said.

Davy Russell and trainer Gordon Elliott (left) after winning the 2018 Randox Health Grand National Handicap Chase with Tiger Roll

“The pain and hurt he has caused to all his friends, family and supporters has truly broken his heart.

“He must be thinking over and over in his mind if he could only go back in time and change that one moment of madness, so extraordinarily out of character.

“He has pledged to never again disrespect a horse living or dead and won’t tolerate it from anyone else either.

“I believe that and stand by him.”

Reflecting on the past seven days, Russell described it was “as hard a week” as he has ever had.

He told of the heartbreaking scenes at the Co. Meath yard when the Cheveley Park Stud horses were taken away – and sent to other trainers.

Russell added: “I am better placed than most to tell you a little bit more about Gordon Elliott the man.

“He is not the animal-hating demon-like figure that so many are sadly painting him out to be.

“In fact, he is the exact opposite. Horses are his life. He loves them more than any human.

“He has also been hugely loyal to me in recent years and been there for me throughout the good times and bad times.

“I have so much to be grateful to him for and I’m proud to be able to call him a friend.

“So much of the success I have had in the saddle is down to Gordon.

“I have him to thank for a lot of the happiness and stability in my personal life too.

“He has promised to vindicate the faith all his close supporters have in him and I will be there for him on that long road ahead.”




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