Gordon Elliott has said it 'breaks his heart' to see how his actions have hurt those around him as he accepted his punishment from the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board.

The trainer has been suspended from training for 12 months, with six months suspended, and ordered to pay costs of €15,000, as a result of a picture of him sitting on a dead horse was made public last weekend.

The 42-year-old handler said he was paying a 'very heavy price' for his error but he said he has no complaints with the verdict, which means he cannot attend a racecourse or a point-to-point meeting until September.

"I am in this situation by my own action and I am not going to dodge away from this. With my position in the sport I have great privileges and great responsibility. I did not live up to that responsibility.

"I am no longer the teenage boy who first rode a horse at Tony Martin's 30 years ago. I am an adult with obligations and a position in a sport I have loved since I first saw horses race," said the three-time Grand National winner.

"I am paying a very heavy price for my error but I have no complaints. It breaks my heart to see the hurt I have caused to my colleagues, family, friends and supporters. I have a long road ahead of me but I will serve my time and then build back better."

He was at pains to express his love for the horses in his care - some of whom have already been moved to his rivals ahead of this month's Cheltenham Festival.

"Horses are my life. I love them. No one comes into racing for money – it is a hard way to make a living. We are here because we love the horses. Anyone who has visited my stables at Cullentra will see the meticulous care with which we treat our horses.

"I was disrespectful to a dead horse, an animal that had been a loyal servant to me and was loved by my staff. I will carry the burden of my transgressions for the rest of my career. I will never again disrespect a horse living or dead and I will not tolerate it in others.

"Finally I want to thank my owners and my staff who, despite being let down by me, have been unstinting in their support. I will vindicate their faith in me."