The horse racing week ahead and that Gordon Elliott photo

Plenty of horse racing to come in the week ahead though I do not fancy anything on Monday. We have rearranged meetings out in Ireland at Punchestown which features the Grade 3 Quevega Mares Hurdle on Monday and then Gowran Park with the Grade 2 Red Mills Chase on Tuesday adding a little glamour to the start of the week. Obviously all roads lead to the Cheltenham Festival now for the jumps game and unsurprisingly we are not overwhelmed with top-class action but there are a couple of decent cards at the weekend from Warwick and Newbury.
The All-Weather season continues towards Finals Day at Lingfield over the Easter weekend with plenty of action this week to enjoy. Thinking of bigger targets further afield Kempton has on Wednesday the 'Road To The Kentucky Derby' Conditions Stakes; a decent race on paper looking at the entries but I doubt any of these will be in Kentucky come the first Saturday in May. 

Gordon Elliott admits 'shocking' photo is real and apologises

I cannot sign off without mention of the Gordon Elliott photo. The Grand National and Gold Cup-winning trainer has now made a statement and it would appear the photo is indeed real and in no-way photoshopped. The IHRB's official investigation is ongoing.
One thing is for sure, it is a PR disaster for the trainer with animal rights organisations and social media in particular having a feeding frenzy. I cannot see how this won't damage his operation and would not be at all surprised to see sponsors and owners distancing themselves from Elliott the longer this sorry affair drags on. With the Cheltenham Festival just days away it could not have come at a worse time for the sport. I just hope it is dealt with as soon as possible and whatever punishments, for use of a better word, are deemed necessary are handed out swiftly and all being well we can move on. 
The welfare of the horses has to be paramount, unfortunately Gordon Elliott, albeit inadvertently as his statement would suggest, has done himself and the sport no favours. 
Be lucky