After a day of uncertainty, the following photo showing the hugely successful (multiple Grand National wins) Irish trainer Gordon Elliott nonchalantly sitting astride one of his dead horses has been confirmed – by the trainer himself – genuine.
In a statement, Elliott said:
“I would like to address the speculation and rumours that have been rife since an old photo of me began circulating on social media yesterday afternoon. Firstly, I apologise profoundly for any offence that this photo has caused and can categorically state that the welfare of each and every horse under my care is paramount and has been central to the success that we have enjoyed here at Cullentra.
“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. However, I feel it is important to provide people with some context surrounding this photo. To the racing community, to anyone who has worked with and loves horses and to anyone offended by this image I cannot apologise enough.”
“I received a call and…sat down to take it.” And that, is that.