Tiger Roll trainer Elliott apologises for photo sat on a dead horse

Leading Irish racehorse trainer Gordon Elliott won the Grand National three times, twice with Tiger Roll. Getty Images

Irish racehorse trainer Gordon Elliott confirmed on Sunday that an image circulating on social media of him sitting on a dead horse is genuine and apologised for "any offence caused."

Elliott, a three-time Grand National winner -- twice with well-known Tiger Roll, was pictured sitting on a dead horse at a training yard while making a phone call.

"I apologise profoundly for any offence that this photo has caused," Elliott said in a statement.

"The photo in question was taken some time ago and occurred after a horse had died of an apparent heart attack on the gallops. At what was a sad time... my initial reaction was to get the body removed from where it was positioned.

"I was standing over the horse waiting to help with the removal of the body, in the course of which I received a call and, without thinking, I sat down to take it.

"Hearing a shout from one of my team, I gestured to wait until I was finished... Such background information may seem trivial at this time... However, I feel it is important to provide people with some context surrounding this photo."

Elliott, 42, said he was "cooperating fully" with the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board which has launched an investigation into the image.