A report by a British Horseracing Authority (BHA) investigator into a complaint of bullying lodged by Bryony Frost against fellow jockey Robbie Dunne was recently leaked to the Sunday Times. The report contains allegations that there is an apparent culture of bullying and intimidation in National Hunt racing’s weighing rooms.
The Sunday Times article reports that the complaint by Frost was lodged after a race at Southwell on 3 September 2020 and that it was the culmination of a series of incidents involving Dunne. Dunne was apparently informed in April that he faced disciplinary charges including ‘conduct prejudicial to the integrity or good reputation’ of the sport. Dunne denies all of the allegations. The BHA has declined to comment on the specifics of the case but expects the matter to conclude in the ‘near future’. Since the leaking of the report, the Professional Jockeys Association has since urged the BHA to drop the case because it will make a fair hearing impossible.
Following the Sunday Times article, a second female jockey has since made an official complaint to the BHA after an alleged safeguarding issue in the weighing room.
A former National Hunt jockey has also revealed what he says was a campaign of physical and verbal abuse against him in the late 1990s by a weighing room valet. In addition to enduring regular bullying by the valet, including references to his weight, the former rider says he was subjected to a humiliating initiation ceremony at a leading yard and that he also witnessed bullying of other staff members at stables where he worked. A BHA spokesperson has since said that “the BHA is not aware of these allegations and so not in a position to comment.”
Michael Lee, Solicitor, BLM