Betting exchange Betfair have discontinued their association with Gordon Elliott, after the emergence of a picture of the trainer sitting on top of a dead horse.
The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board are investigating the image, which Elliott confirmed the validity of last night.
In the picture, the Meath trainer is seen sitting on top of a horse who had died suddenly on the gallops, while Elliott is also seen gesturing towards the camera.
In a detailed statement released last night (which can be read in full here), Elliott apologised for causing offence and claimed he had been distracted while speaking on the phone at the time of the picture.
This morning, Betting exchange giant Betfair confirmed they were dropping their association with the trainer, who had been an ambassador for their brand in recent years.
"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.
"With that in mind, we have decided to discontinue our association with Gordon with immediate effect," their statement reads.
In his own statement, Elliott attempted to explain the context of the picture.
"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," he said.
The IHRB are continuing their investigation into the picture, and are yet to comment on the trainer's apology.
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