Jockey due to ride in Kilkenny today apologises after footage emerges of him jumping on dead horse
A jockey who is due to race in Gowran Park later today who plunged Irish horse racing into further controversy after a video emerged of him jumping onto a horse that had died while on the gallops has said he is “heartbroken” by the damage I have caused”.
A video circulating on social media this morning shows Wexford amateur jockey Rob James mounting a dead horse lying on the gallops moments after it passed away.
In the video, it appears James and others are getting ready to put a hoist around the stricken horse to remove him from the track when he proceeds to jump on the horse.
It is not known where the video was taken. However, in a statement released to the Irish Field newspaper this today, James said the incident happened back in 2016.
The jockey’s statement reads: “I would just like to 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.
“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.
“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. I have caused embarrassment to my employers, my family and most importantly the sport I love.
“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,” he concluded.
The Irish Horse Racing Board is aware of the incident. In a statement released a short time ago, the Board said: “The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board are aware of further social media content circulating and the matter is under investigation.”
This is the second incident in a week where footage of horse racing personalities showing disrespect to a stricken animal have emerged.
Leading trainer Gordon Elliott has been banned from saddling horses in the UK until an investigation into a photo of him straddling a dead horse on his gallops emerged over the weekend.
The Meath trainer, who had a strong team lined up for the Cheltenham Festival in two weeks’ time, no faces losing many if his stable stars on the back of the photo. Some of his sponsors have already pulled their support.
***Rob James was due to ride Gentle Jolie in the 5.20pm at Gowran Park, but the horse has just been listed as a non-runner.***