Fri. Nov 18th, 2022

Gardaí visited trainer Gordon Elliott at his home in Meath last weekend and took a voluntary statement from him over the controversial photograph of him sitting astride a dead horse.Gardaí have now ruled out any criminality surrounding the death of the horse. Officers in Trim opted to visit the embattled trainer to discuss the matter with him after the photo went viral and they received phone calls from members of the public. “He was visited last weekend and provided a voluntary statement. There is no criminal investigation into the matter, there is no evidence or suggestion of anything criminal occurring in relation to the death of the horse. The matter is concluded from a Garda point of view,” said a source.Gardaí at Trim also received a number of calls in recent weeks about a video of a makeshift bar at Mr Elliott’s stables at Cullentry, Longwood, Co Meath.
The video, which also went viral, depicts a group of people drinking at a makeshift bar in the trainer’s stables. However, detectives have established this video is from over a year ago and therefore not in breach of Covid regulations.
It is understood that when gardaí visited the trainer last weekend, he brought them to where the makeshift bar had been situated. A source said Mr Elliott had “taken down the bar himself” and it was previously a space that “jockeys who live there used to avail of to have a few drinks – but it was never a bar operating with the sale of alcohol”.
The source confirmed that the “video is old” and “again, Mr Elliott has no case to answer in relation to this.”
The source added that “clearly someone has a vendetta against Mr Elliott, with the leaking of the photo and the old video shared purporting to be recent.”
The photo of Mr Elliott sitting on top of seven-year-old gelding Morgan, who had died on his gallops, was taken in 2019. Attempts to reach Mr Elliott for comment were unsuccessful. His assistant trainer Keith Donohoe said he was unavailable for comment.
Last Friday evening, Mr Elliott’s trainer’s licence was suspended for a year (the last six months suspended) by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB), and he was ordered to pay 15,000 costs.
The trainer was before the Referrals Committee of the IHRB at Naas racecourse all day on Friday, and it found he was found in breach of Rule 272 (i) “which relates to the proper conduct and good reputation of horse racing”.
Mr Elliott told the three- person committee that his ill-judged conduct was “disgraceful, horrific, wholly inappropriate and distasteful”.
The IHRB acknowledged the receipt of an avalanche of complaints, with the matter “rightly and fully scrutinised in the media” and Mr Elliott was also said to have “fully cooperated”.
Mr Elliott again apologised for his “disgraceful” conduct.
The committee also noted a “sinister aspect” to the case, with publication believed to be “part of a concerted attack upon Mr Elliott” given the timing of the photo’s release, two years after it was taken.