GORDON Elliott has rubbished rumours the racing authorities have prevented him from having runners for the past fortnight over an equine health problem.
The top trainer has not had any runners since May 4th, having withdrawn a number of intended runners due to reported coughing.
Elliott has declared three horses to run at Clonmel on Thursday and expects normal service to resume by the weekend.
On Wednesday afternoon he issued a statement to clarify the reasons why his yard has been unusually quiet for the past fortnight.
“As I said last week we had a few horses run below expectations at Punchestown and the following week. A few of the horses didn’t scope clean and we had some coughing, so it was decided to give them an easy few days, as missing some time at this time of the year isn’t the end of the world.
"The yard was never shut down and we just felt that the most beneficial course of action for our owners and the horses, many of whom had had a long season, was to give them an easy time of things.
“Contrary to uninformed and malicious speculation there was nothing more to it than that. The yard was never shut down, we were never prevented from running horses and we’re looking forward to getting back racing and having a good summer, both over jumps and on the flat.”
Elliott's statement also included a comment from IHRB chief veterinary officer Lynn Hillyer, who confirmed that the yard did not have strangles, a highly contagious infection.
She said: “The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board and Irish Equine Centre have been working closely with Gordon over the last couple of weeks to identify the nature of the respiratory issue which has affected some of his horses.
“Whilst this was underway, Gordon voluntarily stopped horses leaving his yard to race and has worked with his veterinary surgeon to bring the situation under control as rapidly as possible and protect the wider population.
“Results have shown that the agent responsible for the issue is not Strep. equi subspecies equi [strangles infection]. The IHRB is therefore in agreement with Gordon that movement of horses from his yard is now appropriate."
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