Before this week, the notion of someone in horse racing sitting on a dead horse to have a laugh was alien to me. Clearly this is happening a lot more than I realized, though, because shortly after Irish trainer Gordon Elliott was banned for taking a phone call and flashing the peace sign while sitting on a dead horse, a jockey who has ridden for Elliott has been exposed for doing something similar, to a similarly dead horse. Does the horse racing world have no better jokes?
This video shows a mare who had died during an exercise session, and jockey Rob James briefly climbing on top of her and laughing. James, who apologized for his “stupidity” in an interview with the Irish Field, said the footage was from April 2016:
“I have become aware of a video circulating of me on social media. I would just like of apologise for my actions which were wholly inappropriate and disrespectful to a lovely five-year-old mare, who unfortunately suffered a sudden cardiac arrest while at exercise earlier that morning, April 30th, 2016.”
The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board said it is already investigating the incident with James. As for Elliott, the British Horseracing Authority banned him until the completion of the IHRB’s investigation; the board will hold a hearing Friday on his conduct. Elliott is scheduled to participate in the Cheltenham Festival, which starts March 16. At the festival last year, James won while riding on Elliott’s horse Milan Native (alive).
This is just a hunch, but there are probably more than two instances of someone in horse racing trying to be funny by sitting on a dead horse.