The British Horseracing Authority says it is taking allegations by former jockey Gay Kelleway that she was assaulted and harassed “very seriously”.
Now a successful trainer, Kelleway, 53, who broke new ground for female riders, said she encountered serious harassment during her riding years, including an incident at Leicester racecourse involving a “senior jockey” when there were “stewards around”.
“I got harassed so much, people have no idea what sort of a tough time I had. It was horrible,” Kellaway told the Daily Mirror.
“I just wished they would leave me alone. All I wanted was to do my job to the best of my ability.
“I was young then. I was a kid. I never said anything because no one believed you. ‘You must have provoked them’ – that’s what you got.”
Kelleway became the first, and still the only, female jockey to win a race at Royal Ascot on Sprowston Boy in the Queen Alexandra Stakes in 1987.
A statement issued on behalf of the Briish Horseracing Authority, the Professional Jockeys Association, the National Trainers Federation, the National Association of Stable Staff, the Racecourse Association and Racing Welfare said Kelleway has been offered support and assistance.
“The racing world is very concerned by the allegations that one of our leading female participants was sexually assaulted and harassed during her career as a jockey,” the statement said.
“There is no place for such behaviour in our sport. Respect for each other, for our colleagues and our officials is core to our values.
“We have policies in place across the sport to address concerns about bullying, harassment and inappropriate behaviour, but we are always working to improve the welfare of our participants. We want a culture where all our people are confident to report concerns.
“The bodies that represent professional jockeys, trainers, stable staff and racecourses, support Racing Welfare’s primary role for those who wish to get in touch in confidence, but will also support their members and staff if they ask for assistance in raising a concern.
“The BHA, as the governing body, is coordinating this response and will work with all partners in the sport and other relevant authorities to address any issues that arise from this case.
“The BHA has spoken to the trainer concerned to offer support and assistance.”