When is Gordon Elliott allowed to return to training?
In March, 2021, just a week before the start of the Cheltenham Festival, Co. Meath trainer Gordon Elliott was banned for a year – the last six months of which were suspended – by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) for bringing the sport into disrepute. The ban, which was reciprocated by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), followed an investigation into a photograph, widely circulated on social media, showing Elliott cheerfully sitting astride a dead horse. The horse in question was later revealed to be Morgan, a 7-year-old owned by Gigginstown House Stud, who died of a suspected heart attack on the gallops at Elliot’s Cullentra House Stables.
Elliott apologised, more than once, for what he described as an ‘indefensible moment of madness’ and accepted his punishment, which also included €15,000 in court costs, without appealing. Nevertheless, several high-profile owners, including Simon Munir, Isaac Souede and Cheveley Park Stud, removed their horses from the yard and severed all ties with Elliott. Elliott was allowed to return to training on September 9, 2021 and, at the time of writing, has already made his first entries ahead of his return to racing. Of the owners who left, Elliott said, ‘I still speak to them all and the gate is always open. I understand completely why they had to go.’