Sick new video emerges amid 'disgusting' horse racing scandal

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Rob James, pictured here riding the dead horse.
Rob James was filmed riding a dead horse. Image: Supplied

WARNING: The following article contains graphic images that some readers may find offensive.

Irish jockey Rob James has sparked more scandal in the horse racing world after video emerged of him pretending to ride a dead horse.

Just days after leading trainer Gordon Elliott was widely condemned for a photo of him sitting on a dead horse, James sparked more outrage.

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The amateur jockey said on Tuesday he was "heartbroken" and wished to apologise after a video of him climbing on the deceased animal appeared on social media.

James admitted to the Irish Field newspaper that he was the person in the video which was widely circulated.

It shows him briefly climbing on the dead horse while others could be heard laughing. James said the mare died following a cardiac arrest on a gallops in April of 2016.

The sickening new video emerged just days after Irish trainer Gordon Elliott was temporarily banned from racing in Britain over a photograph of him sitting on a dead horse.

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Elliott, a Gold Cup and three times Grand National winner, said the photograph was taken some time ago after a horse had died of an apparent heart attack on the gallops.

James, who rode the Elliott-trained Milan Native to victory at the Cheltenham Festival last year, offered an unreserved apology.

"I would just like to apologise for my actions which were wholly inappropriate and disrespectful," James told the Irish Field newspaper.

"I sincerely apologise to the owners of the mare, the staff who cared for her, the horseracing industry, and all followers of horse racing for my actions."

The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board had earlier said on Twitter that it was "aware of further social media content circulating" and the matter was under investigation.

"To try defending my stupidity at the time would add further insult and hurt to the many loyal people that have supported me during my career," James said.

"I am heartbroken by the damage I have caused and will do my best to try and make amends to those hurt by my conduct."

Rob James, pictured here with trainer Gordon Elliott at the Cheltenham Racing Festival.
Rob James with trainer Gordon Elliott (R) after winning the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup at the Cheltenham Racing Festival. (Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Gordon Elliott loses horses amid photo scandal

Meanwhile, Elliott's apology has fallen on deaf ears, with English owners Cheveley Park Stud removing their horses from his charge on Tuesday.

The 43-year-old will face a hearing on Friday held by the IRHB, with Ireland's Minister of Sport Jack Chambers telling broadcaster RTE he should be "held fully accountable for his actions."

“We've made a decision this morning to move the horses from Gordon's yard," Cheveley Park director Richard Thompson told Sky Sports Racing.

Chambers, the Irish sports minister, made no bones about how he felt regarding the image of Elliott .

"Everything that has been said so far doesn't explain what everybody saw," said Chambers.

"Consequences are important and he needs to be held fully accountable.

"Everything should be on the table. Ireland has to set a high bar when it comes to animal standards."

Elliott admitted the photograph was "indefensible".

"When your world starts crumbling in front of you, it's a scary place to be," he told the Racing Post on Monday.

"It is indefensible. Whether alive or dead, the horse was entitled to dignity.

"A moment of madness that I am going to have to spend the rest of my life paying for and that my staff are suffering for."

with agencies

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