The photo shows Gordon Elliott sitting and smiling on a horse that has just died, making the gesture of "victory" with the fingers of his hand.
Elliott is a well known name in the UK: once a jockey and now a racehorse trainer at Gigginstown House stud farm in Ireland, where most of the horses belong to RYANAIR's managing director, Michael O'Leary, and his brother Eddie.
The photo was taken some time ago and recently popped up and ended up on social media: Elliott clumsily tried to apologize, saying that the horse had just died of a cardiac arrest. He was organizing the moving of the body but he was distracted by a phone call during which he sat on the horse and someone photographed him. Although, the fingers that make the sign of victory give a slightly different idea of ??how the scene could have been carried out.
The disclosure of the photo prompted sports authorities and some sponsors to take immediate action. Horse racing betting company Betfair has decided to terminate the promotion contract with Elliott.
The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board banned him for one year (with the last six months suspended) and fined him 15,000 euros for harming the reputation of horse racing. The same measure was adopted by the British Horseracing Authority.
Meanwhile it became known that the dead horse was named Morgan and was 7 years old.
The entire horse racing world declares to be upset by the incident and dissociates from Elliott. However, the question remains whether this can really be considered an isolated incident, as they want it to pass, or if it is not the result of a culture of the use and abuse of horses, seen as products and not as sentient beings.
Immediately after the photo of Elliott, a video (perhaps not recent) came out in which jockey Rob James does exactly the same thing: he pretends to ride a horse that has just died, laughing and joking with three other people present.
Incidentally, Rob James raced last year with a horse trained by Elliott.
Elliott's photo and James's video are two heavy boulders on horse racing and are arousing reactions even among insiders. The well-known jockey Ruby Walsh has declared that Elliott's photo is indefensible and that when he saw it, he felt anger and embarrassment for himself and for the whole horse racing world.