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Tuesday, 13 November, 2018

Racing bodies express concern over Kelleway sexual assault claims

Gay Kelleway: has made a series of allegations regarding sexual harassment
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The sport's major bodies have released a joint-statement saying "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", following claims made by Gay Kelleway in Saturday's Daily Mirror.

The joint-statement was issued on behalf of the BHA, Professional Jockeys Association, National Trainers Federation, National Association of Stable Staff, Racecourse Association and Racing Welfare.

Kelleway alleges that a prominent jockey pinned her against a wall and said "you know you want it", in the presence of racing officials.

She also claims a naked male jockey approached her in a sauna, and that she received unsolicited hotel room visits from two trainers.  

These allegations date back to Kelleway's time as a jockey, a role she retired from in 1992 after setting up as a trainer the previous year.

She was crowned champion female amateur in 1982 at just 18, and five years later won the Queen Alexandra Stakes on Sprowston Boy. She remains the only female rider to have won a race at Royal Ascot.

'I just wished they would leave me alone'

Speaking to the Mirror, which ran the story on its front page, Kelleway said: “I got harassed so much, people have no idea what sort of a tough time I had. It was horrible.

“I just wished they would leave me alone. All I wanted was to do my job to the best of my ability.”

The BHA said they had contacted Kelleway to offer support and assistance, and on Saturday afternoon a joint-statement was released, which read: "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.

"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."

It continued: "Anyone who feels they have been affected by unacceptable behaviour may contact the 24/7 confidential helpline run by Racing Welfare, the sport’s own charitable body, which offers support and advice.

"Trained counsellors are on hand to answer calls. Racing Welfare will liaise with the sport’s governing body the BHA, and other authorities as appropriate.

"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 co-ordinating this response and will work with all partners in the sport and other relevant authorities to address any issues that arise from this case."

Kelleway's allegations come in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sex-abuse claims scandal, and Sir Michael Fallon's resignation as defence secretary.

Racing's support line can be contacted online or on 0800 6300 443.

The BHA takes these allegations extremely seriously. We are working with all partners in our sport to ensure people are treated with respect

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Gay Kelleway
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