Ruby Walsh is both “very sad” and “embarrassed” for racing as the photograph of Gordon Elliott sitting on a dead horse continues to threaten the sport’s reputation.
Dual Grand National-winning and Cheltenham Festival record-breaking jockey Walsh describes the image – posted on Twitter and circulated through other social media channels on Saturday night – as “indefensible”.
Top trainer Elliott is “cooperating fully” with an investigation into the incident by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board, while the British Horseracing Authority has already placed an interim ban on his runners.
Speaking on RTE, Walsh said: “A picture paints a thousand words, but I think that picture only painted one – and that’s ‘indefensible.’
“When I looked at it, I felt angry, I felt embarrassed for my sport and I felt very sad.
“I was always taught that the duty of care to the animal is as much when it is dead as it is when it is alive – that is the way I was taught to conduct myself, and it’s the way I assumed most people within my sport would conduct themselves.”
Statements from Horse Racing Ireland, the BHA and the National Trainers Federation have made clear racing’s universal shock at seeing the picture, taken on Elliott’s gallops.
Walsh added: “It has huge ramifications for the sport, and I feel embarrassed for the sport and I felt very sad when I (saw) that picture that the due care and respect wasn’t given to that horse.
“As a licensed trainer, jockey or an employee of a stable yard, you are representing the horse racing industry – and the onus is on you to act in a manner that is good for the image of racing.”