Following the appearance of a distressing image of Gordon Elliott sitting astride a dead horse on his gallops, a further video has emerged from a separate stable of a jockey pretending to ride what appears to be another dead horse stricken on the gallops.
The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB), which is already investigating the circumstances surrounding the photo showing leading National Hunt trainer Elliott, has indicated that it is now doing the same in regard to the eight-second video clip, which is believed to have been filmed at an Irish racing yard.
A tweet posted by the IHRB on Tuesday morning read, “The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board are aware of further social media content circulating and the matter is under investigation.”
The jockey shown in the video has subsequently been identified in a story by The Irish Field as amateur rider Rob James.
He told the The Irish Field: “I have become aware of a video circulating of me on social media. I would just like of apologise for my actions which were wholly inappropriate and disrespectful to a lovely 5-year-old mare, who unfortunately suffered a sudden cardiac arrest while at exercise earlier that morning, Apr. 30, 2016.
“I sincerely apologise to the owners of the mare, the staff who cared for her, the horseracing industry and all followers of horseracing for my actions. To try defending my stupidity at the time would add further insult and hurt to the many loyal people that have supported me during my career. I have caused embarrassment to my employers, my family and most importantly the sport I love.
“I am heartbroken by the damage I have caused and will do my best to try and make amends to those hurt by my conduct.”
The highest-profile win of James's career to date came when riding Milan Native (Ire) to victory in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup at last year's Cheltenham Festival for trainer Gordon Elliott.
While the outcome of the Elliott investigation is pending, with the IHRB referrals committee set to hear evidence on Friday, Mar. 5, the British Horseracing Authority stated on Monday that the trainer would not be allowed to have runners in Britain. His large stable includes a number of high-profile horses who are being aimed at the Cheltenham Festival, which begins on Mar. 16. Elliott has previously been leading trainer at jump racing's showcase meeting on two occasions. In 2016, he trained the winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Don Cossack (Ire), one of his 32 Festival winners. Horses currently in Elliott's Cullentra House Stables will be permitted to run at Cheltenham if moved to the care of different trainers.