Gordon Elliott has his first runner on Tuesday after serving his six-month ban for bringing Irish racing into disrepute – Danny Scutchings doesn’t think that should be the case
After a brilliant weekend of action, all eyes now turn to Punchestown on Tuesday where disgraced trainer Gordon Elliott makes his return with one runner, Oh Purple Reign.
He was banned for 12 months, half of that suspended, and ordered to pay costs of €15,000 by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board back in March after an image of him sitting on a dead horse was circulated on social media.
But now the ban is up and he is free to return the question is should he be allowed to? In my opinion the answer to that is no.
However you are involved in racing, whether you are a jockey, an owner, a trainer or, like us on this site, watching racing for the enjoyment, our number-one priority should be the welfare of the horse.
In that moment Elliott forgot that, and he shouldn’t be able to return.
There are many who will say “well he’s served his ban let’s move on” but that’s not the point.
Even In death, a horse should be able to retain its dignity – Elliott and his team denied the horse that, and thought it was ok to take a picture.
It ended up all over social media. It’s something no decent trainer would ever think about doing, not even for a spilt-second.
Can you imagine the likes of Aiden O’Brien, Johnny Murtagh or Jessica Harrington doing that? Definitely not and that’s the difference here.
Consequently some of his stars, including Quilixios, were moved to other yards to continue their careers and hopefully won’t be returned.
He shouldn’t be allowed to forget his actions, or be welcomed back with open arms. But sadly I think he will, and he will be able to move on, which will show Irish racing in a poor light – something the authorities should be ashamed of.