Trainer Ted Walsh believes that Gordon Elliott losing his stable stars will hurt more than any licence penalty he could receive from the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board.
Elliott is set to be punished by the board on Friday for a photograph of sitting of him sitting on a dead horse, a move that will put the future of his yard in jeopardy.
But yesterday's development of the Cheveley Park horses leaving for fellow trainers, such as Envoi Allen who is a two-time Cheltenham winner, will impact more than a change in licence, according to Walsh.
Speaking on Today with Claire Byrne, he said: "The licence is only a detail after what happened to him in the last few days.
"To be in Gordon Elliott’s yard yesterday and watch Envoi Allen and eight of the best horse you have loaded into a box [will hurt more].
"Everyone dreams of having a Dawn Run or an Arkle. Envoi Allen might have been one of them and now he has gone. I’m sure at this stage he is so low.
"He’ll probably lose his licence for some length of time and receive a fine but I don’t know what.
"At this stage he needs to make sure he is okay himself. It is very easy to put a nail in a fella’s coffin and kick a fella when he is down. He knows he made a major blunder and what he did is wrong. I’d say he needs a bit of help now.
"People will castigate him for what he did because it was terrible but I hope mentally he can be strong enough to get over it. It is a huge blow to see your whole life crumbling like a deck of cards in front of you. He has paid for it.
"His yard is gone, his staff will be redundant. He has 80 staff and he has the damage done on his family, himself and the staff. And the only person he can blame is himself. He will pay for it dearly for a long time."
Walsh said the photograph is a contradiction to what he knows of how Elliott treats the animals.
Having first met Elliott as a 16-year-old, and visited the yard and seen his team in action, the 70-year-old says it was "alien" to see such a lack of respect for a dead horse.
Walsh continued: "I was disappointed. Plain and simple I was very disappointed. It's not something I expected from anyone in the racing game. I was always brought up to treat horses with respect when they were alive and dead.
"I never thought anyone from a racing background would get any enjoyment or would ever think about doing it. It is a bit alien to what I was reared to.
"It was just one of those moments when people do things, we all make blunders and mistakes that we look back and say my God why did I do that? But he did it. From my experience, and I was in Gordon's yard a couple of times, and looking at the outfit because it is first class, like a five-star hotel, his results show his horses are always in top condition.
"His staff are well turned out. I'm dumbfounded. It is alien to what I expected. I'd never thought I'd be a picture of Gordon like that.
"I'm not his best pal, he's a generation lower than me. But I know him since he is 16 and [the man in the photograph is] not the man that I know going racing or the man I know when I go and visit him in the yard or the fella looking after his horses and riding when he was younger.
"That is not what I thought he would do. I'm not for one moment saying what he did was right. The picture tells a story. It's one of those bad moments he will regret and will pay dearly for as he has already.
"I'm so sorry for him because I know how hard it is to get to the position he was in. It's a long road back. It's going to be a long struggle.
"I hope mentally he can put up with it too because it must be absolutely heartbreaking. Years ago I had Commanche Court here and if I lost him, I don't know if I would have got over it."