Professional Jockeys Association weigh in on racing gender fight after multiple safeguarding complaints made by female jockeys… including Bryony Frost’s bullying accusations against Robbie Dunne
- Multiple safeguarding complaints have been made in racing over the past weeks
- Bryony Frost claimed she suffered bullying and harassment from Robbie Dunne
- A second female jockey, Hannah Welch, had also reported Dunne’s behaviour
- And last week it was reported that another female jockey had reported an issue
The Professional Jockeys Association have expressed frustration at the slow progress in modernising outdated racecourse facilities, which can force female and male riders to mix in the same changing rooms.
PJA chief executive Paul Struthers said advances were now being made but the issue has come into sharper focus after allegations from Britain’s top jump jockey, Bryony Frost, that she suffered bullying and harassment at the hands of fellow jockey Robbie Dunne.
The Sunday Times revealed a second female jockey, amateur rider Hannah Welch, had also reported being a victim of intimidation by Dunne during a British Horseracing Authority investigation into the Frost affair.
Bryony Frost (above) claims she was bullied and harassed by fellow jockey Robbie Dunne
Dune (above) was also accused of intimidation by amateur rider Hannah Welch (not pictured)
And last week it was reported that another female jockey had reported a separate safeguarding issue to the BHA.
Struthers said: ‘It has been hugely frustrating. The issue of weighing-room facilities is something we have been working hard on to improve for years.
‘The slow progress has been a long-running frustration but I am encouraged by recent signs of progress and things are picking up speed now.
‘The bottom line is that there are plenty of facilities out there where female riders have no choice but to go into the male jockeys’ changing room in order to do their job. Undoubtedly, the facilities would not be tolerated in other walks of life.’
Frost (right with trainer Paul Nicholls) is one of three female jockeys to make safeguarding complaints
Reasons female riders might have to go into the male changing room include seeing their valets — the jockeys’ assistants who prepare riders for a race and look after their equipment — checking their weights on scales before officially weighing out, and going to the only jockeys’ food stations. Around 20 per cent of the PJA membership is female, with that percentage set to rise.
Struthers said polling of female PJA members found that they did not want to be completely segregated from their male counterparts but highlighted the need for gender-neutral communal areas.
There are currently no female valets but the increasing numbers of female jockeys looks likely to make their introduction inevitable.
A BHA spokesman confirmed that a consultation on track facilities involving themselves, the PJA and the Racecourse Association has been ongoing since the spring.
Aidan O’Brien’s team for the Breeders’ Cup, which starts at Del Mar in California a week on Friday, will be headed by Love, who has a choice of the Fillies & Mares or the Turf.
A spiked temperature forced Love to miss the Arc and she also bypassed the Champion Stakes.