9.24am: Betfair announce they will no longer be continuing their association with Gordon Elliott in the wake of the release of an image of the Grand National-winning trainer on social media.
“While we recognise that Gordon 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,” the leading bookmaker says in a statement. “With that in mind, we have decided to discontinue our association with Gordon with immediate effect.”
10.05am: Former Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning jockey Mick Fitzgerald reveals his horror at the image on Sky Sports. “It’s making me quite emotional because these horses have given me a life that I’m privileged to have. It just makes me feel really sad.
“I’ve been in situations where horses that I have looked after and ridden have unfortunately paid the ultimate sacrifice in our sport, and the care and attention they get right to the end — we have to emphasise to everyone watching that people care for these horses.”
11.38am: Leading owners Cheveley Park Stud says they are “horrified” and dismayed.
“However, we will await the official outcome of the investigation by the IHRB (Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board), which we trust will be swift, before making any further comment/decisions.”
11.48am: Gigginstown House Stud owner Michael O’Leary vows to maintain his support for Elliott, describing the photograph as “unacceptable”, but accepting the trainer’s “sincere, profound, and unreserved apology”.
“We have always found that animal welfare comes first, second and third at Cullentra.
“We all make mistakes, and what is important is that we learn from them and ensure we do not repeat them.”
12.31pm: The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) releases a statement saying it is “considering its own regulatory options”, on the controversy, saying it is “appalled” by the image.
“On behalf of all horse lovers, we say loudly that British horseracing finds this totally unacceptable,” their statement says.
1.10pm: Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) says it “unreservedly condemns the disturbing photograph.
“This image does not reflect the care, attention and respect that race horses receive, and does a disservice to the thousands of people who look after their horses on a daily basis.”
7:23pm: The BHA reveals Elliott will not be permitted to have runners in Britain until the conclusion of an IHRB investigation.
“The British Horseracing Authority will not allow the Irish trainer Gordon Elliott to race horses in Britain whilst the Irish authorities investigate an image that appeared on social media over the weekend,” the statement read.
“The trainer admitted the photo was genuine and apologised for his actions.
“The BHA, which regulates racing in Britain, will use powers under its own rules to refuse to allow horses trained by Mr Elliott to race in Britain pending consideration of the outcome of the Irish investigation.
“The action taken by the BHA recognises that Mr Elliott is licensed in Ireland, whose regulatory body, the IHRB, is carrying out its own investigation.
“However, Mr Elliott has entered horses to race in Britain, from which point the British rules of racing apply to him.”
“The decision to refuse to allow horses trained by Mr Elliott to run in Britain is therefore an interim decision which the BHA regards as proportionate in these circumstances.”