Betfair discontinue association with Gordon Elliott following dead horse photo
Leading bookmaker Betfair have discontinued their association with Gordon Elliott as an ambassador after a shocking image emerged over the weekend of the top trainer sat on a dead horse.
Elliott on Sunday apologised for his actions and explained he was distracted by a phone call when waiting for the horse, who suffered an apparent heart attack, to be removed from the gallops.
However, Betfair on Monday morning released a statement saying: "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."
Based at Cullentra House Stables in County Meath, Elliott also said he would cooperate fully with an Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) investigation into the picture, which is said to be a few years old, but surfaced on Twitter on Saturday night prompting outcry across social media.
The BHA, which governs the sport in Britain, also urged the Irish authorities to act quickly as racing prepares for this month's Cheltenham Festival – one of the most important weeks of its calendar and one Elliott is regularly represented at and in big numbers.
He rose to fame in 2007 when saddling Silver Birch to victory in the Grand National and also won the 2018 and 2019 runnings of the sport's most famous prize with Tiger Roll, while he captured the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2016 with Don Cossack.
He has been associated with Betfair since 2016, regularly posting blogs about his runners on their website and taking part in promotional videos.
The firm, part of a global betting giant along with Paddy Power under the banner of Flutter Entertainment, also employs other big names such as Paul Nicholls, Ryan Moore and Joseph O'Brien in ambassadorial roles.
Elliott, who turns 43 on Tuesday, had initially tweeted on Saturday night that he was aware of the image being in circulation and then on Sunday evening he released a statement that included his apology and stressed his commitment to equine welfare.
"To the racing community, to anyone who has worked with and loves horses and to anyone offended by this image I cannot apologise enough," part of it read.
"Horse welfare and the care and attention to detail involved is absolutely at the core of everything we do here and both myself and all of my team pride ourselves on those standards."
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