Disgraced trainer Gordon Elliott 'lies awake thinking about Envoi Allen' as his six-month ban comes to an end

DISGRACED trainer Gordon Elliott will return to work on Thursday after serving a six-month ban.

The Irishman was suspended after an horrific image of him sitting astride a dead horse was published in February.

The photo shocked the horse racing world and his actions were widely condemned.

Trainer Denise Foster took temporary charge of his licence, and the yard ended up with three winners at the Cheltenham Festival.

But Elliott did lose several of his top horses, including Envoi Allen, Quilixios and Sir Gerhard, after their owners decided to remove them from his care.

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And the 43-year-old has spoken for the first time ahead of his comeback, and he says he still lies in bed at night thinking about Envoi Allen, a five-time Grade 1 winner who is now with Henry de Bromhead.

Elliott told the Racing Post: "Losing those horses was the lowest point throughout it all.

"I had worked very hard to source those horses, and then they were gone. Just like that.

"When Envoi Allen was here, there wasn't a night I didn't lie in bed thinking about him. And now that he is gone, there still isn't a night I don't lie in bed thinking about him.

"When Quilixios won the Triumph Hurdle, Henry de Bromhead rang me to say 'well done', and he made a point of acknowledging me on television, which was decent of him.

"And Sir Gerhard hadn't crossed the line in the Champion Bumper when I got a text from Willie Mullins."

Elliott, who had 12 horses removed from his yard in total, continued: "I have never had a cross word with any of the owners who left.

"I still speak to them all and the gate is always open. I understand completely why they had to go.

"Having said that, I still have a brilliant bunch of owners here who have stuck by me and want to support me and want to see me get back to where I was."

Elliott was banned for 12 months, with six months suspended, and fined £13,000 at a hearing in March.

Speaking at the time, he offered a grovelling apology and said his 'world was crumbling'.

He said: "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."

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