Jockey Rob James handed 12-month ban from racing

Cheltenham Festival-winning amateur jockey Rob James handed 12-month ban from racing – with the last eight suspended – after shocking video emerged of him jumping onto the back of a dead horse

  • Rob James has been banned for 12 months by the Irish Horseracing Board
  • Sickening video of him climbing onto back of a dead horse surfaced last week
  • James’ penalty follows the one-year suspension slapped on Gordon Elliott
  • A picture emerged of the Grand National-winning trainer sitting on a dead horse 

Irish amateur jockey Rob James was banned for 12 months, with eight months suspended, by the Irish Horseracing Board after an investigation and hearing into the video of him climbing onto the back of a dead horse surfaced last week.

James’ penalty follows the one-year suspension, with six months suspended, which was slapped on three-time Grand National-winning trainer Gordon Elliott last Friday after a picture of him sitting on a dead horse had emerged days earlier.

James has apologised for the incident, which took place in April 2016, which he described as ‘wholly inappropriate and disrespectful’, ahead of the hearing.

Rob James has been handed a 12-month ban from racing, with the last eight suspended

A sickening video last week showed the Irish amateur jockey posing astride a horse

James won the Kim Muir Fulke Walwyn Chase at last year’s Cheltenham Festival on Elliott-trained Milan Native, although the dead-horse video had no connection to the Elliott stable.

James made an undertaking not to attend a race meeting or point-to-point during his suspension.

A tweet on the IHRB’s official account following the hearing read: ‘Having considered the evidence, the Referrals Committee found Mr James in breach of Rule 272(i) in that he acted in a manner which was prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct and good reputation of horseracing. 

‘They imposed a 12-month suspension of his Qualified Riders licence and Handlers Permit with this last eight months of this suspended.’ 

James (fourth right, centre) seen celebrating winning Riders Handicap Chase at Cheltenham

After the sickening footage emerged, James issued the following apology: ‘I have become aware of a video circulating of me on social media. 

‘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 30, 2016.

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

He added: ‘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.’

Gordon Elliott was slapped with a one-year suspension, with six months suspended, after a picture of him sitting on a dead horse emerged days earlier

James was seen with at least two other people in the footage, with laughter heard as he posed as if he was riding the horse.

The two sickening incidents involving James and disgraced trainer Elliott has left racing in tatters.

When Elliott was slapped with his suspension, the IHRB said his actions had ‘damaged the reputation of the Irish racing industry and the thoroughbred industry’.

They added that his actions had shown a ‘complete lack of respect for the horse’. The IHRB accepted the three-time Grand National-winning trainer felt ‘genuine remorse’ for the incident, that he accepted his actions had offended many people and that what he had done was ‘wrong and indefensible’.  

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