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Jockey Robbie Dunne insists he did not call Bryony Frost a ‘c***’ and ‘whore’ panel told

National Hunt jockey Robbie Dunne has denied calling Britain’s leading female jump jockey a ‘c***’ and a ‘whore’, during a feud that stretches back four years.

Dunne is accused of bullying, harassing and threatening Bryony Frost, including the use of foul and misogynistic language, at racecourses around the country last year.

A disciplinary panel of the British Horseracing Association is hearing evidence in the case, which stems from a complaint made by Frost 15 months ago.

The hearing has been told that problems began in 2017 when Dunne stood in front of Frost naked, and she objected. The male jockey insists he was simply leaving the sauna in facilities that were often shared with female riders.

The six charges against Dunne allege he broke two BHA rules at three separate events, at Stratford on July 8, Uttoxeter on August 17 and Southwell on September 3, all last year, where it is claimed he abused or threatened Frost. 

Dunne, 36, has been accused of repeatedly targeting his more successful female rival, 26, by mocking and bullying her.

Frost claimed that she was bullied and harassed by her fellow jockey

Robbie Dunne (L) has been charged with verbally abusing and threatening Bryony Frost (R) 

However, it is claimed the conflict escalated last year when he used sexist language towards Frost and threatened to ‘put her through a wing [fence]’ and hurt her. Dunne had formed the view that Frost rode dangerously and she need to ‘learn’, it’s claimed.

At Stratford, the female rider says Dunne made a bee-line for her after the race and jabbed his finger at her calling her a ‘f****** whore’ and ‘dangerous c***’ for cutting him up on the course.

But in his statement, part of which was read to the BHA hearing on Wednesday, Dunne categorically denies he would use such language.

‘I had words with Miss Frost about the style of her riding being careless and dangerous,’ said Dunne.

‘I pointed so she knew my comments were directed at her and not the surrounding riders. I aired my concerns about her style of riding and its dangers.

The BHA alleges Robbie Dunne, winning at Taunton this month (above), threatened to put Frost through a fence during at row at Southwell racecourse on September 3, last year

The BHA alleges Robbie Dunne, winning at Taunton this month (above), threatened to put Frost through a fence during at row at Southwell racecourse on September 3, last year

‘I did not call her a whore or a c***. She says in her own statement she can recollect my words.

‘I don’t remember the exact wording I used towards Miss Frost,’ added the jockey. ‘It was the heat of the moment following a race, but I did not use the explicit terms she alleges. I would never use the language that she suggests.’

Lawyer Roderick Moore, representing Dunne at the hearing, added: ‘As you can see Miss Frost, Mr Dunne is essentially saying he was angry he was cross, he pointed, he had words, he did not use the words like c*** or words at that level.’

In reply, Frost, whose evidence was under cross-examination, insisted she ‘strongly’ remembered what he had said and accused Dunne of not being accurate in his statement.

‘He has not said anything along the lines of what he did actually say to me,’ she added.

Dunne, racing at Newbury in January, is accused of intimidating fellow jockey Bryony Frost

Dunne, racing at Newbury in January, is accused of intimidating fellow jockey Bryony Frost

As well as questioning what was actually said in exchanges between the pair, Dunne’s representative also suggested that it was one rule for his client and another for other male jockeys when it came to Frost’s allegations.

He highlighted the fact that other male jockey’s teased Frost and one had even called her a ‘c***’, but said Moore, she had not seen that as bullying or harassment.

‘You made it clear that you don’t have a problem with that jockey [who called you a c***],’ said Mr Moore.

Frost is the most successful British female jump jockey

Frost is the most successful British female jump jockey

‘So a senior jockey calls you a c***, but that’s fine… Other jockeys tease you but that’s just teasing, it’s fine… But you say if Mr Dunne teases you that is somehow different?’

Frost, who at times became tearful under intense questioning, insisted it was different with Dunne.

‘There is a difference with Mr Dunne because it was happening frequently,’ she said. ‘And it wasn’t just a spur of the moment, heat of the moment, knee-jerk reaction, losing his temper for a second.

‘It was over a long period of time and that is why I am here. It was never getting any better. It was never just once.’

The hearing raises difficult questions for horse racing, which prides itself on the strength of the weighing room, where jockeys support and police each other. In addition, the sport believes it is an environment in which men and women can compete on equal terms.

Frost’s allegations sparked an extensive investigation by the BHA, which resulted in a 120-page report. In an interview with investigators Frost claimed that other female jockeys had been bullied by Dunne.

Investigators interviewed female riders and asked them about their experiences.

A report included claims from Frost that ill-feeling between her and Dunne stretched back to before 2017

A report included claims from Frost that ill-feeling between her and Dunne stretched back to before 2017

How the saga has unfolded 

September 2020: Bryony Frost complains to the BHA about her alleged treatment by Robbie Dunne.

December 26: Frost talks about negativity in the weighing room after her King George VI Chase win on Frodon.

January 12, 2021: Details emerge of an angry exchange involving Frost and Dunne after his mount Cillian’s Well fell fatally at Southwell on September 3.

January 24: Racemail reveals Frost’s concern about her treatment goes back to June 2019, when she was involved in a verbal incident with trainer Johnny Farrelly at Uttoxeter.

April: BHA head of integrity Chris Watts completes his 120-page report into Frost’s allegations, with Dunne told he will be charged.

October 17: Watts’ leaked report appears in a Sunday newspaper. It details Frost’s statement with allegations of problems with Dunne back to 2017 and threats he had allegedly made against her. Dunne’s legal team accuse the BHA of losing control of the investigation.

November 24: Dunne is charged with bullying and harassing a fellow jockey on three race days in 2020. 

However, at the hearing, Mr Moore detailed the evidence of a number of those women, who did not back up Frost’s case. Some considered Mr Dunne to be ‘rude’ or ‘not to everyone’s taste’, but they said did not find him ‘inappropriate’ or ‘bullying’.

Frost said she accepted the accounts from the other women were ‘honest’, but she added: ‘They all have licences… so they will still have to be in the weighing room. The isolation I have found from speaking out, I would not wish on anyone…

‘They have to go into that weighing room every day and they are protecting themselves.’

In her statements and evidence, Frost has highlighted moments in races at Leicester and Market Rasen where she says she was the victim of aggressive riding from Dunne, in which he rode into her and squeezed her on the rails.

Mr Moore says Dunne denies any wrongdoing and he pointed out that stewards did not intervene and Frost did not lodge a complaint

There will also be a heap of scrutiny on the weighing room and the culture within it

There will also be a heap of scrutiny on the weighing room and the culture within it

‘I would not make a complaint to the stewards about Robbie,’ Frost replied. ‘I would be worried about what would happen when I walked back into the weighing room. It would not improve anything by going to the stewards, other than aggravating.’

However, in Frost’s account she did make a complaint after Dunne threatened to ‘put her through a wing [fence]’ at Southwell on September 3, 2020.

An exchange between the pair took place in the weighing room after Dunne’s mount, Cillian’s Well, fell and died, and the male jockey believed Frost was to blame

Frost says Dunne threatened her coolly and she believed he intended to hurt her.

Frost, pictured racing at Hereford earlier this month, was reduced to tears, it is claimed

Frost, pictured racing at Hereford earlier this month, was reduced to tears, it is claimed

Crying, Frost said: ‘He promised he would hurt me and I believed him. He said it to me in such a way I believed him.

‘He was not angry, red faced, he delivered it and he wanted me to know exactly what he felt about me and what he wanted to do. He made it very clear.’

In contrast, Moore said a senior jockey in the weighing room had reported the exchange was ‘not out of the ordinary’. 

And he added: ‘You should have known this was a heat of the moment exchange.’ 

He asked if Frost accepted Dunne was upset about the death of his horse. The female jockey said she was unaware the horse had died and Dunne did not mention it.

If Dunne is found to have breached the rules, he could face a fine and a ban from competing.

The range of punishment for breaking Rule 19, acting in a way that is prejudicial to horse racing, is a fine of between £1,000 and £15,000 and a ban from one month to three years.

For breaching Rule 20, by acting in a violent of improper manner, the punishment is a ban up to 21 days and a fine of between £100 and £5,000.

Dunne denies all but one of the six charges laid against him. He accepts he breached Rule 20 by behaving in an improper manner at Southwell, The hearing is scheduled to continue until Monday.


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