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Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board Statement on outcome of Gordon Elliott Disciplinary Hearing

  • Rule breaches that impact on the good reputation of Irish racing will be rigorously, fully, and impartially pursued.


  • IHRB expresses disappointment that the case arose, and acknowledges the upset and reputational damage that it has caused


The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Body (IHRB) notes the decision of the Referrals Committee involving trainer Gordon Elliott to suspend him for 12 months, of which the second six months are suspended. Mr. Elliott was found in breach of Rule 272(i) which relates to the proper conduct and good reputation of horse racing following the circulation of a picture showing Mr. Elliott sitting on a dead horse.


Ireland is recognised internationally as being a world leader in the racing industry. This success is based on the highest professional standards being followed by all participants.  Where rules are breached they will be dealt with rigorously, fully, and impartially by the IHRB.


This case was heard by the Referrals Committee today, chaired by Mr. Justice Raymond Groarke, accompanied by The Hon. Mrs. Justice Siobhan Keegan and Mr. Nick Wachman.


Speaking about the decision of the Referrals Committee, Denis Egan, CEO of the IHRB said:


“Where breaches of rules occur and where participants in racing act in a manner that brings the sport into disrepute, there are no winners, and in fact, the loss is to Irish racing with damage to the reputation of the sport. Having acted with thoroughness and having followed due process at all times, the IHRB team are satisfied that the case has been dealt with fairly and appropriately.


“Our team who prepared the case worked tirelessly since the issue emerged just a few days ago and ensured their investigation, presented today and with the support of our legal team, was thorough, fair to the parties involved, and above all, focused on ensuring that the integrity and good reputation of the sport is upheld.”


The IHRB will carry out unannounced stableyard inspections on more than 100 days this year in addition to sampling over 5,000 horses, regulating over 380 race meetings, approximately 100 Point-to-Point fixtures and will pursue with impartiality any rule breaches that we uncover.


Mr. Egan added: “Ireland and its racehorse trainers, riders, breeders and workers are held in high regard globally providing some of the very best horses and the very best racing talent.


“We recognise the heartfelt upset that this matter has caused to people inside and outside of racing, none more so than to the staff employed by Mr. Elliott. We also see at first hand both on the racecourse and as part of our stable inspection programme that horses receive unrivalled care, attention, and affection. Indeed, as part of the investigation into this very case, an unannounced stable inspection of Mr. Elliott’s yard this week led to no concerns about the welfare of the horses in his care, as has been the case during any other inspection we carried out at his premises each year. In our opinion the incident covered in today’s hearing is not reflective of Irish racing.”




Notes to editors:

  • Saturday 27th February: IHRB immediately launched an investigation within minutes of becoming aware of the image in circulation on Saturday evening.
  • Sunday 28th February: Investigation commenced with initial interviews.
  • Monday 1st March: Referrals Committee consulted regarding availability
  • Tuesday 2nd March: Referrals Committee finalised and date of hearing confirmed with all parties
  • Wednesday 3rd March: Final interviews took place; time of hearing confirmed
  • Thursday 4th March:             Documents relevant to the case received from both legal teams and sent to Referrals Committee
  • Friday 5th March: Hearing took place


  • Biography of Referrals Committee
  • Justice Raymond Groarke – Current Member and former President of the Circuit Court
  • The Hon. Mrs. Justice Siobhan Keegan – Judge of the High Court of Justice Northern Ireland
  • Nick Wachman – Former Senior Steward of the Turf Club

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