Under-fire trainer Gordon Elliott has released a fresh apology in the aftermath of his horses being unable to run in Britain until the conclusion of an Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board investigation.
Elliott became embroiled in a social media scandal over the weekend as a photograph emerged of him sitting on top of a dead horse.
After initially saying he would help the IHRB in their investigation, the Irish trainer later issued a full apology, admitting the image in circulation was legitimate.
It is unclear what punishment awaits Elliott now – but the former jockey has again apologised for his 'indefensible' actions.
Elliott told the Racing Post: "It is indefensible. Whether alive or dead, the horse was entitled to dignity. A moment of madness that I am going to have to spend the rest of my life paying for and that my staff are suffering for.
"I will be punished, I fully understand that. But it absolutely breaks my heart to read and hear people say that I have no respect for my horses. That couldn't be further from the truth.
"My whole life has revolved around horses since I was a child. I know nothing else. Horses are all I have. I came from nothing and built a dream.
"When your world starts crumbling in front of you, it's a scary place to be. I just hope people can understand how truly sorry I am and find some way to forgive me for what I have done."
Elliott has faced intense criticism since the photograph emerged on Saturday.
And the 42-year-old admits it is tough to have accusations thrown at him regarding the welfare of horses at his yard.
He continued: "I treat each and every one of the horses I train with the utmost respect. We pride ourselves on having the highest of standards with the way we treat our horses, and our staff. I think our facilities here at Cullentra vouch for that.
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"Horse and staff welfare is at the very top of my priorities. I've invested heavily in outdoor paddocks for horses with respiratory problems; we have vibrating massage plates; a swimming pool; padded stables; a cooling down area. We even bring horses to the beach on a regular basis for an away day.
"The welfare of my horses, both physically and mentally, is massive. I can guarantee that this will never happen again to any animal, alive or dead."
Elliott was set to lead a crack team of horses to Cheltenham this year, with the likes of Envoi Allen, Tiger Roll and Zanahiyr popular with punters and the racing community.
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