The golden girl of British horse racing is at the centre of a toxic row in the £3.3billion sport amid accusations over a rival horse’s death and bullying by jealous jockeys.
Bryony Frost, 25, has enjoyed extraordinary attention thanks to her historic win last month and passionate post-race interviews.
But the spotlight shining on Frost – whose father is 1989 Grand National winner Jimmy – has caused friction among some other riders, who are envious of her plaudits.
The simmering resentment has combined with an incident between her and jockey Robbie Dunne, 35, after his horse Cillian’s Well fatally fell in September.
Dunne, who has racked up £844,757 in winnings during his career, confronted her in the weighing-room and accused her of causing the incident in a furious row.
It appears to have soured the atmosphere at races, with it now so bad Frost herself revealed last month ‘I struggle and I’ve got to make sure I don’t say anything too much’.
Bryony, pictured here cuddling her dog Merlin, has shot to the top of horse racing in months
This is the moment that sparked the row between Dunne and Frost last September
Bryony Frost, pictured here back in March 2019, enjoyed tremendous success in 2020
She is understood to have reported it herself to the British Horseracing Authority, who are so secretive they would not even confirm the existence of the probe.
But a source told MailOnline: ‘This is a huge combination of a lot of things that have suddenly collided together – it is a perfect storm.
‘The row at Southwell after the fall is something everyone there would have expected to stay private.
‘Details have come out and Bryony has spoken herself about problems among other jockeys.
How did she ¿mess up¿? Rewatch the fall. Robbie Dunne was a clown for trying to make ground on the inside, at a fence, when Wisecracker had jumped left slightly throughout. Not the first time he¿s dropped clangers himself in races. pic.twitter.com/9xLj7WnUk7
— 10pencebandit (@10pencebandit) January 13, 2021
Bryony Forst with her father and trainer Jimmy Frost, himself a Grand National winner
The star jockey relaxes with her two dogs earlier last year away from the racecourses
Bryony Frost during strength training in the gym to help prepare for her horse races
Bryony Frost gets a hug from trainer Paul Nicholls after riding Frodon to win on Boxing Day
Who is the golden girl of horse racing?
Bryony Frost was born in Buckfastleigh, Devon, and is the daughter of 1989 Grand National winner Jimmy Frost.
She started racing as an amateur jockey and won the Foxhunter Chase at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival, on Pacha Du Polder.
Later that year she turned professional and her star has risen ever since.
In 2018’s Grand National she rode Milansbar to a creditable fifth place.
Then a year later in 2019 she and Frodon won the Ryanair Chase.
She said that year: ‘I can’t change the fact I’m a girl, but I never set out to break perceptions and change moulds.
‘I would ride the same if I was a boy. I would still wear my emotions on my sleeve. I didn’t even know I was the first until someone mentioned it when we got the trophy.’
Last month she made history on the same horse after winning the 2020 King George VI Chase at Kempton Park.
It was the first time that a female jockey had won the race.
‘There is also – to be quite open about it – jealousy of how much attention she gets and the horses she rides on.
‘Not everything that is being investigated is in the public arena at the moment – there is more to come out.’
The incident on September 3 at Southwell happened in a handicap chase.
Dunne accused Bryony of letting her horse Wisecracker drift and cause his horse to fall.
He told the Times last week: ‘Most jockeys work on the basis that what happens in the weighing room stays in the weighing room.
‘It’s under BHA investigation. Leave them to do their work.’
There was support online for Frost with many describing her as the best thing that had happened to the sport.
One said: ‘The whole Bryony Frost situation makes me very sad. Bryony is both a hugely talented rider and a natural publicist. She has brought jump racing to a new audience. She should be valued for that by her colleagues. I hope the weighing room can move on.’
She was backed by another fan who added: ‘Bryony Frost is one of the top jockeys in the country so why is she getting hassle in the weighing room from fellow jockeys who have not got a clue about pace and judgment these incompetents need to be exposed.’
Frost rode into the history books on Boxing Day as the first female jockey to win the King George VI Chase aboard Frodon at Kempton.
A week later she hinted to the Guardian of resentment against her and other younger riders.
She said: ‘It’s a difficult topic at the minute, because there are ongoing things that need to be sorted out and there is protection that needs to be given to others. So at the moment I can’t go too much into it. But it’s something I’m going to be trying extremely hard to make better and move forward in a positive way. But at the minute my hands are tied as to how much I can go into such things.
‘There are always going to be a few people that frown. Opinions are opinions, not facts, and I think for our younger generation there are things that must be improved. It’s finding the support to become who you need to be. I will do my best to help everyone and give them all the time in the world I can. Other people give me time and I believe that should always be passed on.’
Her interview came almost a fortnight after comments made by Harry Cobden, a jockey who was years ago said to have been her boyfriend.
He told The Times he did not like the spotlight and just wanted to win races.
Robbie Dunne at Plumpton for his ride on Star Academy this month had accused Frost
Cobden said he did not envy Frost, adding: ‘She’s obviously done well out of the cameras.
‘They like her and it’s got her career going. Paul’s (Nicholls) put her on nice horses.
‘If the cameras weren’t involved would she have gone as far as she has? I don’t know. But she has managed it really well, especially last year because Bryony Frost was the face of jump racing.’
Representatives for Frost declined to comment to MailOnline on the investigation.
But her father Jimmy has previously urged the sport to modernise fast.
He told the Daily Telegraph: ‘I just think it’s a tough world at the moment to go into and it shouldn’t be.
‘It should come into the 21st century, and we should look after each youngster.
‘It’s probably getting to the stage where I would struggle to recommend it to a youngster.’
The BHA this morning said it could not comment.
An insider familiar with the workings of the regulator said any party that came to it with allegations of bullying or harassment would be taken seriously.
At the moment it is a row in the sport which could leave noone the winner.