A top Meath trainer has described a tweet by comedian Ricky Gervais in the aftermath of the Grand National as "very ill-informed and offensive".
Ger Lyons extended an open invite to the celebrity to visit his Glenburnie Stables at Dunsany after the star tweeted a picture of a horse with a tear in his eye and said: ‘Why Would You Gamble with a horse’s life for fun? #youbettheydie’
An infuriated Lyons replied to the tweet saying: “Ricky, I probably love animals more than humans and I invite you to visit my yard and see how these glorious animals are treated.
“You’re probably too busy but your tweet is very ill-informed and offensive.”
Speaking from his stables, where he trains more than 100 horses, Ger said he felt he had to tweet after seeing the post.
“I felt I had to stand up and be counted. I follow Ricky Gervais because he loves and respects animals so much like I do but when you have 13.2m followers like he does, you have to be responsible with what you tweet.
“Every year after the Grand National you see tweets similar to this and it gets tedious to be honest.
“I hate giving oxygen to these comments but he has so many followers, I had to say something.
“Of course, he’s entitled to his view but he has to be mindful about what he tweets.
“I have 100 horses and the horse racing industry, in general, is bound by stringent regulations which change constantly. That’s on top of our natural love for horses anyway.
“He’s more than welcome to come to my yard at any time and I’ll show him the care and time we place on all our horses.”
A native of Co. Kildare, Ger has been training horses in Dunsany for over 20 years, after an injury in 1989 cut short his jump jockey career which saw him notch up 50 winners in four years.
He has had many winners since, most notably the GR1 winner Lightening Pearl in 2011.