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28 Feb, 2021 15:08

‘If it’s real, it’s disgusting’: Grand National-winning trainer under fire for ‘social media picture of him sitting on dead horse’

‘If it’s real, it’s disgusting’: Grand National-winning trainer under fire for ‘social media picture of him sitting on dead horse’

Grand National-winning trainer Gordon Elliott is under investigation by horseracing authorities after a picture emerged online which appears to show him posing on top of a deceased horse, though some say the picture is a fraud.

Elliott, who oversaw Grand National wins for the world-famous Tiger Roll in 2018 and 2019, says that his is co-operating with the investigation launched by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) after the potentially damaging picture began circulating online.

However, some have suggested that the photograph - which shows Elliott flashing a two-fingered 'peace sign' to the camera while straddled atop the dead animal - has been digitally altered.

"I’m aware of a photo in circulation on social media," Irishman Elliott announced in a statement Saturday night. "The IHRB have been in contact with me regarding this photo and I will be cooperating fully with their investigation."

Denis Egan, chief executive of the IHRB, confirmed that his body have launched an investigation into the image and say that their findings will be announced promptly.

"The photo is being investigated. Nothing else can be said at this stage until we have carried out the investigation, but it will be done quickly."

Contrary to suggestions that the photograph has been edited, a source close to the person who allegedly took the picture said that it was taken last July at the Elliott's training base reported the Daily Mail.

Elliott has a reputation as being one of the most successful trainers in horseracing. He has won multiple Grand Nationals and can claim more than 30 winners at the Cheltenham Festival but looks set to be forced into damage-control mode should the IHRB investigation find that the photograph is genuine. 

He did not immediately deny the validity of the image in his initial statement late Saturday. 

Elliott is currently helping to prepare Tiger Roll for what would be a record-equalling third Grand National win at the annual April event at Aintree. 

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