THE BRAIN SEES WHAT IT IT WANTS TO SEE.
Now that isn’t a typo but it’s something written on copies of the DVD of the acclaimed movie of the very popular play Ghost Stories.
At this moment you’re probably wondering why I’ve began with that at the start, well Saturday night as we all know saw a photo released on social media of Gordon Elliott seemingly sat on a dead horse on the gallops at his stables in Ireland and quite rightly it has caused quite an eruption in the racing and non racing world.
How does this relate to the above wording in capital letters?
Well naturally everyone who saw it wanted to believe it was a fake photo that someone made up and released it onto twitter with the joke hopefully being that Gordon caused the horse to have collapsed from having him sat in the saddle.
Why would we want to believe it to be true? Why would a trainer be sat on a horse that had just died and lay prostrate on the gallops?
Sadly it wasn’t to be, it was true and most of Sunday and today, Monday 1st March has had racing fans and professionals venting their anger such as much respected former jump jockey and pundit Mick Fitzgerald who looked visibly upset on Sky Sports Racing and as a man who has worked with some of the top trainers in the game he knows only too well the care and attention given to these wonderful equine athletes.
It is for sure absolutely baffling why a man who is responsible for some of the finest national hunt bloodstock in Ireland thought posing for a photo or just sitting on a dead horse would be a funny thing to do? Was it work place “banter” or was it something else that we’ll never know or understand?
At the moment the BHA have banned Gordon Elliott from having runners in the UK till the Irish authorities have done their investigations and brought about a punishment they feel suited to the incident concerned and this potentially could mean a whole host of horses including Envoi Allen missing out on competing at the Cheltenham Festival unless he gets switched to a new stable which his owners are perfectly entitled to do so at any time.
For sure it is always the case that a few seconds of stupidity can cause a lifetime of regret, anybody reading this and i put myself in this too has done,said or typed something on social media which has gone wrong and either upset someone or made us look stupid leading to rifts and arguments, we can’t change what we did but hopefully we can learn from our mistakes and i hope Gordon does the same too.
Owners pay good money for their horses and for them to be trained, and as such we know that in training they are given love,care and respect but this is something all owners would expect to be given in a horses death too wether it be on course, at the stables or elsewhere while in the trainers care.
As for Gordon we can only speculate what will happen, already Betfair have withdrawn from sponsorship with him, Cheveley Park Stud are keeping an eye on how it develops which makes sense because with Cheltenham coming up you don’t want to disrupt your star horses chance of festival glory with a very late switch of trainer and Micheal and Eddie O’Leary, owners of Gigginstown House Stud have gone on record continuing to support him as they are perfectly entitled to do so.
Something has to happen though, the sport has had a huge battle since Cheltenham last year when it was unfairly and wrongly blamed for being a Covid superspreader which it certainly was not and after much hard work,blood,sweat and tears the sport has made huge strides of latewith increased viewing numbers on television coverage plus ITV having it’s popular “Reliant On Racing” segment on the weekend shows but with two weeks before a behind closed doors Cheltenham Festival we get this happening!
Personally i think Gordon Elliott needs to be suspended from training, not indefinitely unless anything else comes out of the woodwork because it always appears to be the norm especially in the celebrity world to bay for blood and make sure someone gets literally everything taken from them, think Roxanne Pallet in Celebrity Big Brother when she lost her radio job and potential acting work from a moment of madness in that famous house and the public seemed to lust for her losing everything she had worked for because of it.
What he did was absolutely beyond the pail of trust between an owner and trainer, if i had horses with him and one of them died and it was that horse he had the photo taken with i would be bloody furious and most likely would find a new trainer for them very quickly indeed, it’s something like this which only gives the anti racing brigade more ammunition for the crusade to see all equine pursuits stopped.
I hope the relevant authorities in Ireland do what they believe to be the right thing as regards sanctions for Gordon Elliott otherwise it will show a lack of leadership and lack of not giving a toss and that is something the sport cannot be seen to have!
It’s important to finish on a positive note on a sad day for racing, one thing which has brought many smiles to people is the huge number of horse photos from owners,trainers,stable staff and racing fans of horses they either look after or simply love and want to show them off so people know that these animals are so well cared for, it reminds of this video below on YouTube, James May with his take on why we are lucky to have these magnificent beasts on this planet with us and what makes the racehorse the athlete it is today