Gordon Elliott axed by Betfair with immediate effect after photo of trainer sitting on dead horse
GORDON ELLIOTT has been axed by Betfair with immediate effect after he was photographed sitting on a dead horse.
The three-time Grand National-winning trainer's future career is in crisis amid the fallout from the shocking snap.
And now bookies Betfair has severed all ties with the 42-year-old after he confessed the image was genuine.
A Betfair spokesperson commented: "While we recognise that Gordon Elliott deeply regrets and apologised unreservedly for his poor judgement, his actions are completely at odds with the values of the Betfair brand and that of our employees.
"With that in mind, we have decided to discontinue our association with Gordon with immediate effect."
Elliott issued a statement late on Sunday night attempting to explain the circumstances around the photo, which has appalled fans of the sport.
The statement read: "The photo in question was taken some time ago and occurred after a horse had died of an apparent heart attack on the gallops.
"I appreciate that an initial viewing of this photo suggests it is a callous and staged photo but nothing could be further from the truth.
"At what was a sad time, which it is when any horse under my care passes away, my initial reaction was to get the body removed from where it was positioned.
"I was standing over the horse waiting to help with the removal of the body, in the course of which, to my memory I received a call and, without thinking, I sat down to take it.
"Hearing a shout from one of my team, I gestured to wait until I was finished.
"Such background information may seem trivial at this time and will not allay the concerns of many people both within and outside the world of horse racing."
The British Horseracing Authority [BHA] labelled the image 'shocking' and an investigation between Elliott and the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board is ongoing.
A BHA spokesman said: "We hope the Irish authorities will quickly confirm how this shocking picture originated.
"Respect for horses is a fundamental value of our sport, contrary to the impression in this picture.
"The IHRB have assured us that the investigation will be carried out as quickly as possible and that they will keep us informed as more information becomes available."
Elliott's participation at this month's Cheltenham Festival – which starts on March 16 – is in doubt, with many calling for his licence to be revoked.
Prior to this scandal, Elliott, from Meath in Ireland, was one of the top trainers in the sport.
He led Tiger Roll to two straight Grand National wins from 2018 and first won it with 33-1 shot Silver Birch in 2007.
Elliott has saddled 32 Cheltenham Festival winners in all and scooped last year's Irish Gold Cup with Delta Work.
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