Betfair Ditches Champion Racing Trainer Gordon Elliott Over Shocking Dead Horse Image

Betting exchange Betfair has parted ways with a three-time Grand National-winning brand ambassador who was recently pictured sitting on a dead horse.

Gordon Elliott
Gordon Elliott
Gordon Elliott was pictured apparently posing atop the horse flashing a “V for victory” sign. (Image: Niall Carson/PA/Getty)

The Flutter Entertainment-owned brand dropped Irish racehorse trainer Gordon Elliott like a ton of bricks after the image, which appeared to show him posing on top of the animal, emerged over the weekend.

While has opted not to publish the photograph, it has been circulated widely on a social media where it has sparked outrage and condemnation. In it, Elliott is seen straddling the dead horse while holding a mobile phone to his ear and flashing a “V for victory” sign at the camera.

Betfair said Monday that while it recognized Elliott had apologized for his “poor judgement” his actions were “completely at odds with the values of the Betfair brand and that of our employees.”

Elliott Under Investigation

In a long statement released Sunday, Elliott said the horse had suffered a heart attack in the gallops and claimed he was distracted by a phone call as he waited for the animal to be removed.

“To the racing community, to anyone who has worked with and loves horses and to anyone offended by this image I cannot apologize enough,” Elliott wrote.

“Horse welfare and the care and attention to detail involved is absolutely at the core of everything we do here and both myself and all of my team pride ourselves on those standards.”

It’s believed the photograph was taken several years ago, but it was first uploaded to Twitter on Saturday by an account unconnected to Elliott. It’s not publicly known who took the photograph.

On Tuesday, the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board confirmed that it was investigating the photo and that Elliott was banned from entering British and Irish racing events pending the conclusion of the probe.

Cheltenham Concerns

Former jockey Elliott first hit the headlines in 2007 when he rode Silver Birch to victory at Britain’s prestigious Grand National. He repeated the feat as a trainer in 2018 and 2019 when Tiger Roll became one of a select few horses to win the race back-to-back.

According to The Racing Post, Elliott has been a brand ambassador for Betfair since 2016, regularly posting blogs about his runners and the industry, while featuring in promotional material.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has declared itself to be “appalled” by the image but is said by industry insiders to be privately concerned that its Irish counterpart’s investigation could disrupt the Cheltenham Festival in the middle of March.

The festival is the British horse racing industry’s biggest event of the calendar and one in which Elliott is scheduled to run a large number of horses.

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