Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board CEO Denis Egan says the punishment imposed on trainer Gordon Elliott is "proportional".

Elliott was suspended from training for 12 months, with six months of that sanction suspended, and ordered to pay costs of €15,000, following Friday's IHRB referrals committee hearing at Naas racecourse.

A photo of Elliott sitting on a dead horse appeared on social media last weekend, with the trainer admitting that the image was genuine in a statement released on Sunday evening. 

According to a statement, the IHRB referrals committee found Elliott in breach of rules 272(i) of the Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules, in that he acted in a manner which was "prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct and good reputation" of the sport.

Speaking to RTÉ's Drivetime after the announcement of the sanction, Egan said that the punishment was appropriate from the IHRB's point of view.

"We believe it is proportional to what was in it. Mr Elliott had built up a very successful business over a number of years and it's going to have a huge financial effect," he said.

"It's well documented that he's lost owners this week. But I would say that Mr Elliott's behaviour - what occurred here - is not the norm in Irish racing and it's not something we do not come across and as I said earlier on, 'a moment of madness' has had a huge effect on him both personally and professionally.

"He's suffered a lot of abuse on Twitter and he's got to live with that."

He added: "The main mitigating factors were the financial and personal impact on Mr Elliott and the aggregating factor is the fact that it's had a huge impact on the reputation of Irish racing and I think the committee have sent out a message today that they will not stand for anything having an impact on Irish racing and if anybody does something which damages the reputation of Irish racing, they will be punished accordingly."

On the IHRB committee's reference in their statement to the "sinister aspect to this case" in relation to the motives behind the publication of the photograph, Egan said that he was "not in a position to elaborate on that".

"The matter is with the Gardaí. That goes beyond our powers. We deal with the rules of racing and the case was heard under the rules of racing today and the penalty imposed was in line with what was available under the rules of racing," he added. 

Egan acknowledged the damage done to the racing industry in Ireland but added that he was confident that it would bounce back.

"There is a lot of damage done but Irish horseracing is resilient. We've got the best riders, the best trainers, the best jockeys and best bloodstock in the world. It will bounce back from this, I have no doubt."

Speaking on Game On, RTÉ racing analyst Jane Mangan said that the punishment "is proportionate".

"I think this is satisfactory and the way the whole case has been handled quite swiftly but fairly, and all evidence considered, I think this is an outcome that is fair," she said.