Paddy Power, the Irish betting company, has been slammed for a new advert which introduces transgender women to the Cheltenham horse races and asks the viewer to decide whether they are a ‘stallion’ or a ‘mare’.

The advert’s voiceover actor says: “We are going to make Cheltenham Ladies Day even more exciting by sending in some beautiful transgender ladies.

“Spot the stallions from the mares.”

The advert then shows a series of women in the enclosures and indoor areas while the voiceover says “woman” or “man” for each.

After a shot of a woman holding a lapdog, another is seen emerging from a men’s toilet as the voiceover says “Dog. I mean, man”.

The last shot prompts the voice to say “Good luck with that.”

Cheltenham Festival organisers posted the video on their website, saying “Many viewers have found the advert – which was broadcast on SkySports in Ireland & the UK this weekend – in poor taste and the advert been referred to the ASA for offending the Transgender community.

“You can watch their Ladies Day Ad below. Some people might find it offensive. Some people thought it was just a bit of a laugh. What do you think? Let us know in the comments!”

The Guardian reports comment from the LGBT Liberal Democrat group in Northern Ireland that Paddy Power had “brought shame on themselves” with the “transphobic” advert.

The betting company said responses to the advert have been “healthily mixed”.

Paddy Power said: “Several members of the UK transgender community are cast in the ad, and it was also cleared by Clear Cast before airing. This ad is simply a bit of mild mannered fun in the run up to the Cheltenham Festival.”

The company said the new ‘We Hear You’ campaign is inspired by sports and betting comments received from customers via our social media platforms, phone or at betting shops offers them “entertaining resolutions”.