Horseracing trainer Gordon Elliott has apologised for a controversial photo of him sitting on a dead horse on the side of a gallop.
The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board is officially investigating the image and he has been dropped by operator Betfair as a result.
Elliott has since issued a statement on the context behind the photo.
The statement read: «Firstly, I apologise profoundly for any offence that this photo has caused and 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 here at Cullentra.
«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.»
Elliott’s explanation, however, is reminiscent of Joleon Lescott’s, when the former Aston Villa defender tweeted a picture of a fancy car to fans after a 6-0 defeat to Liverpool.
In 2016, Lescott claimed the tweet was sent accidentally from his back pocket while he was driving. His theory, though, did not explain how his phone could attach a specific image to a tweet before posting it… all while in his pocket.
While Elliott’s explanation does seem a little more plausible than the former footballer’s, it clearly hasn’t been deemed good enough to stop him from being dropped as an ambassador by Betfair.