Gordon Elliott dead horse photo part of a 'sinister and concerted attack' on trainer, say racing chiefs

GORDON ELLIOTT'S dead horse photo being leaked was part of a 'sinister and concerted attack' on the trainer, racing chiefs said.

Elliott, 43, was banned from the sport for six months, with another six months suspended, and fined £13,000 on Friday.

The image of him straddling a dead horse, phone in one hand doing the peace symbol with another, shocked the sporting world.

But ever since it went viral last weekend, questions have been asked about how it came to light two years after being taken.

Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board chiefs admitted they did not have the answer to that question at Elliott's hearing.

But they said they were satisfied its release was designed intentionally to cause harm to Grand National winner Elliott.

The statement read: "In the view of the Committee there is also a sinister aspect to this case.

"The Committee are satisfied that the publication of this photograph is part of a concerted attack upon Mr Elliott, the full circumstances of which are unknown.

"This has been canvassed not for the purpose of the defence of absolution but in order to explain the publication at this time of a photograph which has existed since 2019."

Elliott accepted his conduct had been 'disgraceful, 'horrific' and 'wholly inappropriate and distasteful'.

In a statement posted from his official Twitter account, Elliott said he accepted his punishment.

He said: "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, friend and supporters.

"I have a long road ahead of me but I will serve my time and then build back better.

"Horses are my life. I love them.

"I will carry the burden of my transgressions for the rest of my career.

"I will never again disrespect a horse living or dead and I will not tolerate it in others."

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