The ramifications of bringing our great sport into disrepute can and are costly.
Just ask Gordon Elliott.
After he took a phone call, and sat down to answer it, on the carcass of a dead horse, his world has collapsed around him with condemnation coming from every corner of the globe.
The champion trainer was, after investigation and his acknowledgement of the truth, banned from the upcoming carnivals in England which are his Holy Grail – the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National.
Then, last night in Ireland, the Irish Horse Racing Board (IHRB) also banned him. Their’s being even harsher.
He is out for a year from racing horses in that country but six of those months will be suspended. He was also fined 15,000 euro. His large stable and staff will need to be dispersed, but once the horses are transferred to new trainers, they will be permitted to race.
Elliott was punished under Rule 272(i), which relates to someone within racing’s jurisdiction acting in a manner which is ‘prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct or good reputation of horseracing’.
In a typed response that appeared on social media today, Elliott said: “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. I am no longer the teenage boy who first rode a horse at Tony Martin’s 30 years ago. I am an adult with obligations and a position in a sport I have loved since I first saw horses race.
“I am paying a very heavy price for my error but I have no complaints. It breaks my heart to see the hurt I have caused to my colleagues, family, friends and supporters. I have a long road ahead of me but I will serve my time and then build back better.”
Elliott said also that he will NOT be appealing the bans.
Nearly everyone on social media throughout the world, felt he got off very, very lightly.
One chap, named Tom, put it best when he wrote on Twitter: “Considering that photo is going to be a lead albatross around the neck of the sport forevermore , he’s got off very lightly.”
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