Sport Horse Racing

Wednesday 17 July 2019

Elliott in centre of flu storm

It's been a crazy few days for Gordon Elliott with the Meath trainer finding himself at the centre of the equine influenza story – although not for the wrong reasons – after having runners in Ayr on Wednesday. Stock photo: AFP/Getty Images
It's been a crazy few days for Gordon Elliott with the Meath trainer finding himself at the centre of the equine influenza story – although not for the wrong reasons – after having runners in Ayr on Wednesday. Stock photo: AFP/Getty Images
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

It's been a crazy few days for Gordon Elliott with the Meath trainer finding himself at the centre of the equine influenza story - although not for the wrong reasons - after having runners in Ayr on Wednesday.

Elliott is well-known for his forays across the Irish Sea and made hay with three winners from five runners at the Scottish track, while other Irish handlers John Carr, Shane Nolan, Stuart Crawford, Ronan McNally, Caroline McCaldin and David Christie also had runners between Ayr and Ludlow.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) would later contact Elliott and Co about precautions which needed to be taken with their travelling horses as three runners from Donald McCain's stable - who also had runners at Ayr and Ludlow - were found to have contracted equine flu.

Elliott's horses did not return to his main yard - he houses approximately 200 at his Cullentra stables - and are currently in an isolated stable block separate from his yard where he insists they will remain as long as is deemed safe and necessary.

"The horses we ran at Ayr never came back to our yard and instead went to a non-racing isolation yard that is about 25 minutes away from where we are based. I got a phone call yesterday (Wednesday) at 8 o'clock to say not to bring the horses back to the yard," Elliott said.

Isolation

"We put them into isolation and that's where they'll be until we find out everything's ok. There is only a minute chance of the horses catching it but we're not going to take any chances. We were blessed the horses didn't get back into the yard.

"Hopefully everything will get back to normal in Britain as quickly as possible but from our point of view it's business as usual."

Elliott's eventful day at Ayr wasn't finished there, however, as he was fined €3,000 for schooling the unplaced Braid Blue in public and given the costs and travel involved, he says he is unlikely to appeal.

"It'll cost me more money to go to England to appeal it, with getting lawyers and going over and back to London, so it's unlikely I will appeal. There are enough things to be worrying about in life," Elliott said.

Elliott got back to doing what he does best at Thurles yesterday with Moratorium (11/2) landing the feature, the Horse & Jockey Rated Novice Hurdle, by a neck under Jack Kennedy from the fancied Joseph O'Brien runner Petit Tartare (6/4 favourite).

"He is a grand honest horse who stays galloping and he's a horse who wants a fence in time," a delighted Elliott said. "He was bought to be a chaser so we're delighted. We'll see what sort of a mark he gets and see what the story is."

Irish Independent

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