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Grim clip Irish jockey Rob James apologises after video emerges of him sitting on dead horse

While appearing to try and move the horse using heavy machinery and harnesses one of the men, believed to be a jockey, is seen putting his leg over the horse and sitting on it.

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Horseracing authorities are investigating footage allegedly of an Irish jockey sitting on a dead horse

Horseracing authorities are investigating footage allegedly of an Irish jockey sitting on a dead horse

Horseracing authorities are investigating footage allegedly of an Irish jockey sitting on a dead horse

Horseracing authorities are investigating footage of Irish jockey Rob James sitting on a dead horse, just days after a separate image of horse trainer Gordon Elliott emerged.

The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IRHB) has said it is carrying out inquiries into the new footage which began circulating on social media overnight and shows a horse lying motionless on the ground surrounded by four men.

Amateur jockey James, a winner at Cheltenham last year, has apologised for his “stupidity” and the “embarrassment” he has caused.

“I have become aware of a video circulating of me on social media,” James told the Irish Field.

"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.”

While appearing to try and move the horse using heavy machinery and harnesses, James is seen putting his leg over the horse and sitting on it.

During the brief clip the other men can also be heard laughing.

This morning the IHRB said it is “aware of further social media content circulating and the matter is under investigation."

It comes just days after a separate image was widely circulated of trainer Gordon Elliott sitting on a dead horse at his Meath gallops.

An investigation is continuing into this incident by the IHRB.

The highly successful trainer has since apologised for the picture, saying he was taking a phone call when he sat on the horse.

In a statement over the weekend Mr Elliott said: “I appreciate that an initial viewing of this photo suggests it is a callous and staged photo but nothing could be further from the truth.

“I was standing over the horse waiting to help with the removal of the body, in the course of which, to my memory I received a call and, without thinking, I sat down to take it. Hearing a shout from one of my team, I gestured to wait until I was finished.”

It has led to widespread criticism and the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) have said it will not allow Elliott to race horses in the UK while the Irish investigation is continuing.

The major development comes just two weeks before the Cheltenham festival is due to take place where several prestigious horses trained by Mr Elliott are due to race.

In a statement the BHA said it will not allow him to race in the UK using "powers under its own rules to refuse to allow horses trained by Elliott to race in Britain pending consideration of the outcome of the Irish investigation.

"The action taken by the BHA recognises that Mr Elliott is licensed in Ireland, whose regulatory body, the IHRB, is carrying out its own investigation.

"However, Mr Elliott has entered horses to race in Britain, from which point the British Rules of Racing apply to him," they said.

There has been widespread condemnation over the image and a petition for Elliott to be banned by British authorities has been signed almost 2,000 times.

Betting exchange giant Betfair has also ended its involvement with him.

Elliott and Gigginstown have had a lengthy fruitful partnership with Cheltenham Gold Cup success for Don Cossack in 2016 and successive Aintree Grand National victories for Tiger Roll among a string of high-profile prizes.

In a statement Ryanair and Gigginstown boss Michael O’Leary said he accepts that the photograph was a “momentary lapse of judgement” and not in keeping with their 15-year experience of “his concern and attention to the welfare” of their horses.

“We all make mistakes, and what is important is that we learn from them and ensure we do not repeat them. We accept Gordon’s profound, sincere and unreserved apology, and we will continue to support him and his team at Cullentra as they work to recover from this deeply regrettable incident,” O’Leary said.

Green Party Cabinet Minister Pippa Hackett has said she found the photograph of Mr Elliot sitting on a dead horse “quite sickening” and welcomed the investment by the IHRB.

“Gordon Elliot has shown a very concerning and disturbing error of judgement and I look forward to a swift investigation by the IHRB,” Ms Hackett told Independent.ie.

The Minster of State in Department of Agriculture added that it is “appalling to see a high-profile trainer behave in such a manner”.

The Green Party senator breeds races horses on her Offaly farm which have gone on to win high-profile races.

Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue has said he is “appalled” by the photograph of Mr Elliott sitting on a dead horse.

In a statement, Mr McConalogue said: “The photograph is not reflective of the highest animal welfare standards we demand for the sector nor does it reflect the tremendous care horses receive in Ireland. It is not the kind of image we want associated with horse racing in Ireland.

"I am aware of the investigation being carried out by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Body (IHRB) and support the move. As this is an ongoing investigation, it is inappropriate to comment further,” he added.

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