Leading Irish racehorse trainer Gordon Elliott apologized on Monday after a photo of him sitting on a dead horse, which went viral on social media.
In a statement, the Irish trainer said that received a phone call and sat down on the horse “without thinking.”
The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) opened an investigation into the story of this image, which Elliott says was taken “some time ago”.
“I apologise profoundly for any offence that this photo has caused,” he said, according to BBC.
The 43-year-old, who is based in County Meath, is a highly successful trainer who has won the Grand National three times, including twice with Tiger Roll.
I’m aware of a photo in circulation on social media. The I.H.R.B. have been in contact with me regarding this photo and I will be cooperating fully with their investigation.
— Gordon Elliott (@gelliott_racing) February 27, 2021
“I 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,” he added.
“The photo in question was taken some time ago and occurred after a horse had died of an apparent heart attack on the gallops.
“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.”