It’s the landmark battle that has made a mockery of the claims that the racing weighing room is a supportive and safe space.
Bryony Frost, the Ryanair and King George VI Chase champion, has alleged that she has been the victim of a coordinated, six-month long campaign of bullying and harassment by fellow jockey Robbie Dunne.
The BHA has now opened their disciplinary hearing into the matter, and already the accusations levelled at Dunne have been serious to say the very least.
Frost has alleged that Dunne ‘opened his towel and shook himself’ at her during an incident in a shower room, and alleged that the 36-year-old had been ‘inappropriate’ to a number of female jockeys.
“I remember Robbie through my amateur career being inappropriate to many of us,” she told the panel.
However, a number of others – including Bridget Andrews and Page Fuller – have spoken out in support of Dunne, although Frost believes they may have ulterior motives.
“My opinion is they [other female jockeys] have a [riding] licence and I feel they are protecting themselves – and rightly so – to stay neutral,” she said.
There have been many other allegations made by Frost, with the 26-year-old accusing Dunne of using ‘foul, sexually abusive and misogynistic language’ towards her, and also threatened to physically harm her following an altercation on the track at Southwell in September 2020.
Dunne has admitted that charge of ‘behaving in a violent or improper manner’, but has denied allegations of similar threats made in separate incidents at Stratford – where he allegedly claimed he would ‘murder’ Frost after she was said to have cut him up – and Uttoxeter.
She also believes that Dunne has singled her our specifically, making comments and jokes that were far beyond the normal weighing room banter.
“He is more aggressive, more direct, it wasn’t just the odd occasion he would take the mickey,” Frost detailed.
“Say one other male jockey on a rare occasion would say something and then it’s fine and you get along, whereas Robbie, he’d take the mickey and also be aggressive and singling you out. It became more directed at me and affected me much more.”
The experienced jockey has refuted he acted in a sexual manner towards Frost, claiming that many would make the walk from the sauna to the weighing room naked.
He also revealed he had received menacing phone calls since the allegations have come to light, and that in one instance somebody threatened to break his legs.
Campaign of Hate
The hearing is taking place at BHA’s headquarters in London, with Frost and Dunne both appearing in person – the latter being questioned on charges of prejudicial conduct and violent and threatening behaviour.
While the case revolves around a specific period of time – February to September 2020, it’s believed that their relationship soured as early as 2017, when Frost stood up to Dunne over alleged misogynistic comments made towards other female jockeys.
But the bad blood became more violent in February 2020 after an altercation at Leicester, in which Dunne allegedly called Frost ‘a f******* s***’ and a ‘dangerous f****** w****’ following an incident in which she is thought to have ‘murdered’ him – racing slang for cutting a fellow jockey up to get a better line.
An eyewitness revealed that after a race at Stratford in July 2020, Dunne told Frost ‘you’re a f****** w**** and if you ever f****** murder me like that again, I’ll murder you.’
Later that month, Dunne is alleged to have ridden aggressively towards Frost at Market Rasen, forcibly making her move her horse out of the way, and that shortly after at Uttoxeter Dunne again claimed he was going to ‘murder’ her.
The culmination of the six-month long episode came at Southwell, where Dunne confronted Frost following an incident in which his mount – Cillian’s Well – suffered a fall that would prove to be fatal. It is alleged he told the 26-year-old he would put her ‘through a wing’, a reference to the solid blocks that hold jumps fences in place.
The hearing continues….