Saffie Osborne’s father Jamie reports horrific social media abuse to police

Abuse sent to top apprentice jockey Saffie Osborne has been reported to police.

The young rider, third in the title race, received the shocking message after riding at Bath on Wednesday evening.

She had been beaten a short-head into second place aboard Peerless in the Visit Handicap.

Her father Jamie, a former Cheltenham Festival-winning rider, posted the content on Twitter with the statement: “Social media abuse has gone too far. I will now begin a crusade to have these people banned from all platforms and will not shy away from bringing prosecutions.”

By Thursday morning, Osborne had contacted police and called for action.

Dozens of racing professionals, including Sky Sports presenter Alex Hammond and trainer Mark Johnston, joined him in condemning the abuse.

Jamie Osborne said: “I know jockeys get messages all the time, and I don’t know what proportion of them get reported, but I think there comes a point where enough is enough.

Saffie Osborne riding Pettochside at Goodwood Racecourse

“I know Saffie has been getting them (messages). But the nature and the tone of this one was in my mind a step too far, and I don’t see why jockeys should have to put up with this on a regular basis without there seemingly being any call for action.

“Saffie is annoyed with me for highlighting this. Luckily she’s pretty tough and she can laugh these things off, but we shouldn’t just take that for granted about our jockeys.

“I don’t know if anybody is planning to take any action, but I certainly am – not for Saffie, necessarily, but for all the jockeys.”

Jockeys and trainers are encouraged to log abusive messages with police by the British Horseracing Authority.

Many have taken to social media in the past to report they have been targeted.

Jamie Osborne highlighted the threats and said it was time for police to act.

He added: “This message wasn’t a guy saying I don’t like the way you ride – let’s put no finer point on it, it’s threats of rape and death. I don’t know how society can feel this is acceptable.

“The police are investigating. Obviously they will have to go through their due process, but I would be hopeful that charges can be brought and hopefully that will act as a deterrent for people deciding to do the same thing in the future.

“When I was riding, while we didn’t have online things, I used to get the odd hate phone call – and I had a dustbin thrown at me one day on the way in from a race at Wolverhampton!

“But because of this technology, jockeys today are exposed to it constantly. We know everyone is different – everybody’s tolerance levels are different, and everybody’s mentality is slightly different.

“This is an issue. If racing doesn’t collectively get together and look after its participants and protect them from this, the consequences could be disastrous – and will be disastrous somewhere down the line.”

Saffie Osborne has 14 winners for the season so far, four behind apprentice jockeys’ championship leader Marco Ghiani.

She has several chances of adding to the tally at Leicester’s meeting this evening.

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