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Amateur rider Rob James banned for 12 months following video on social media

Amateur jockey Rob James has been handed a 12-month ban, the last eight of which are suspended, following an Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board referral hearing into the video posted on social media of him sitting on a dead horse.

The hearing took place on Wednesday evening, after the IHRB concluded its investigation into the incident.

Just days after an image of Grand National-winning trainer Gordon Elliott sitting on a dead horse was posted on Twitter, a video of James – who rode the Elliott-trained Milan Native to victory at the Cheltenham Festival last year –
emerged on the social media platform.

James had apologised for his “wholly inappropriate and disrespectful” actions, and said he was “heartbroken by the damage” caused by the video, which was taken in 2016.

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 also informed the committee that he would not attend a race meeting or a point-to-point for the four-month period of his suspension.

Following Elliott’s referral hearing on Friday, he received a 12-month ban, with the last six months suspended.

Rob James referral hearing to take place on Wednesday

A referral hearing into a video of Irish amateur jockey Rob James sitting on a dead horse will take place on Wednesday, after the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board concluded its investigation.

Just days after an image of Grand National-winning trainer Gordon Elliott sitting on a dead horse was posted on Twitter, a video of James – who rode the Elliott-trained Milan Native to victory at the Cheltenham Festival last year – emerged on the social media platform.

James has since apologised for his “wholly inappropriate and disrespectful” actions, and said he was “heartbroken by the damage” caused by the video, which was taken in 2016.

A Tweet on the Irish regulatory body’s feed on Tuesday read: “The IHRB investigation into a video circulating on social media last week has concluded, and a referral hearing will take place on Wednesday. The IHRB will not be commenting further on this matter until after the hearing.”

Following a referral hearing last Friday, Elliott was handed a 12-month ban, with the last six months suspended.

Rob James apologises for ‘wholly inappropriate’ video

Irish amateur jockey Rob James has apologised for his “wholly inappropriate and disrespectful” actions after a video of him sitting on a dead horse was posted on social media.

The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board has already announced an investigation into the footage, which was posted on Twitter on Monday night.

James, who rode Milan Native to victory at the Cheltenham Festival last year, said he is “heartbroken by the damage” caused by the video, which was taken in 2016.

He told the Irish Field: “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 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.”

The footage follows just two days after trainer Gordon Elliott confirmed an image of him taking a phone call while sitting on a dead horse was genuine.

The trainer is “fully cooperating” with an IHRB investigation into the incident after the photograph on his gallops appeared on Twitter on Saturday night.

On Tuesday morning, the IHRB posted on its own Twitter account that a further investigation is under way following the video footage of James.

The statement read: “The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board are aware of further social media content circulating and the matter is under investigation.”