Gordon Elliott says ‘I lie in bed thinking about it’ as he is set for return after photograph scandal

Gordon Elliott (Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne)

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Gordon Elliott has said that he lies in bed thinking about the photograph that sidelined the famous trainer for six months.

Elliott was handed a 12 month ban, half of which was suspended, as well as a €15,000 fine after a photograph emerged of him sitting on a dead horse.

And the Meath trainer could well return to racing on Tuesday with his ban now expired but the Meath man says the photograph still plays on his mind.

Speaking to Racing TV, he said: "When I opened the photograph I knew it wasn't good. I got an awful shock when I'd seen it on the Saturday evening myself. It's something I never want to experience again.

"It's something that I lie in bed every night thinking about and it's something that I'm going to have to live with for the rest of my life.

"For a man in my position it shouldn't have happened and it was a terrible mistake."

Elliott was asked if he'd change anything after the photograph was released, and said: "In hindsight you'll always do things different but I'll never forget seeing the photograph. I was at Fairyhouse and the horse was just about to go out for the last race in the bumper and I seen and I got an awful shock. I contacted our governing bodies, the IHRB, I contacted Horse Racing Ireland and said it was me.

"They dealt with it straight away, I had a meeting with them the following day. I was very straight up with it the whole way but something I would never like to have to do again, to be honest.

"It's something that I'm going to have to live with for the rest of my life."

Elliott said that the knock on effect for the yard devastated him, adding: "Watching them leave the yard was very, very tough. It wasn't just tough on me, it was tough for the staff in the yard.

"These lads and lassies look after these horses, they put their whole lives into them and they adore these horses and for a mistake I made they lost them as well.

"I've suffered for doing that and I'm going to suffer for the next three or four years for doing something very silly. "

Denise Foster took temporary control of Elliott’s Cullentra base, enjoying a Grade One winner at the Cheltenham Festival with Mares’ Hurdle victor Black Tears while also saddling dual Grand National hero Tiger Roll as he bounced back to winning form with a wide-margin success in the cross country.

Elliott is now free to resume business at his yard and has two runners at Punchestown on Tuesday.

Oh Purple Reign, who was a winner at Gowran for Foster on September 1, and will be Elliott’s first runner back in the Donate To The Coast To The Curragh Cycle In Honour Of Pat Smullen Handicap, while Alice Kitty has been entered in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Handicap.

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