Gordon Elliott’s Cheltenham runners could still race under caretaker

Gordon Elliott could still have runners at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival in a fortnight, as the dead horse photo scandal rumbles on.

The 43-year-old faces a ban at an Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board hearing on Friday, two weeks to the day until the WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Elliott won the race in 2016 with Don Cossack – and has several entries this year.

The Daily Mail reports that a caretaker boss could take over the stable's licence at Cullentra House Stables, County Meath, to allow his team to compete.

Elliott has 104 horses entered in races over the four days, where he has saddled 32 winners and been top trainer on two occasions.

His stables employ around 80 members of staff, a purpose built facility which has the capacity for nearly 200 horses.

Eight owned by Cheveley Park Stud, including Cheltenham Festival favourite Envoi Allen, were moved to other stables this week.

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls believes it is risky to give horses a new routine so close to National Hunt racing's biggest fixture.

Other owners at the yard including Ryanair's Michael O'Leary and Philip Reynolds have offered their support to Elliott.

Max McNeill, who has leading Ultima Handicap Chase contender Escaria Ten in his care, suggested he should take a break from the sport.

“The sport needs to recover and he needs to recover, more importantly, and get his head together," he said.

“It’s hard on you mentally when you have spent your whole life building up this fantastic career and then literally, overnight, it's falling apart before your eyes.

“I think that would destroy anybody's mental health.”

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