Gordon Elliott has said he will be “cooperating fully” with the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board after an investigation was launched into a purported image of the leading trainer which was posted on social media on Saturday.
The image was posted and widely shared on Twitter, with the IHRB later tweeting: “The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board are aware of an image circulating on social media and the matter is under investigation.”
The image appears to show Elliott sitting on a dead horse on the gallops — although many people have commented on social media that it looks fake.
Elliott responded from his official Twitter account.
He posted: “I’m aware of a photo in circulation on social media. The IHRB have been in contact with me regarding this photo and I will be cooperating fully with their investigation.”
Speaking on Sunday lunchtime, an IHRB spokesman said: “The investigation is under way, and it will be dealt with as quickly as possible.”
Elliott is a three-time Grand National winner, having sent out Silver Birch to claim the Aintree prize before Tiger Roll became the first back-to-back winner of the race since Red Rum when lifting the marathon event in 2018 and 2019.
The County Meath handler also counts 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Don Cossack among the best horses he has trained, with 32 Cheltenham Festival wins to his name so far.
Elliott houses a number of favourites for this year’s Festival, including Envoi Allen and Zanahiyr, while Tiger Roll himself is also due to run in the Glenfarclas Chase over Cheltenham’s cross-country fences.
The British Horseracing Authority has welcomed the IHRB’s investigation, and is hoping for a speedy resolution.
A spokesperson 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.”