THE evidence presented in the Robbie Dunne/Bryony Frost disciplinary hearing did not make for pleasant reading. Dunne was found guilty of bullying and abusing his colleague.
Some of the behaviour could be generously described as boisterous, some bordering on misogynistic. I don’t condone any of it.
It will have taken a toll on both jockeys involved. Frost is likely to continue to experience isolation for lodging a complaint while Dunne’s reputation and career has been massively damaged.
What are the ramifications and implications to follow? Will we see better manners on show in the weighroom? Less locker room talk? The changing area is not for the faint-hearted. The pressures are high and tense exchanges of views are frequent. Where is the line that must not be crossed? Who is going to write the code of conduct for jockeys?
My view is that while we might see fewer rows in the weighroom, we are going to see the stewards clamp down on careless riding and there will be more racing-related injury claims in the courtroom.
Last week saw the conclusion of Freddy Tylicki’s High Court case against Graham Gibbons for damages. A verdict is expected before Christmas. I think there is one thing which connects both this case and Dunne’s case and it is not “weighroom culture”.
Dunne claimed the root of his problems with Frost was that she “cut” him up in a race. In one case, Dunne’s mount suffered a fatal fall which was bound to be upsetting, although the stewards did not feel any other jockey was to blame.
Meanwhile, Tylicki is suing a jockey for millions over a fall, which he says was caused by Gibbons cutting across his line, which left Tylicki paralysed.
In a perfect world, if you cause interference through moving off a straight line you’re at fault and you take the blame. We don’t live in a perfect world and keeping the idyllic straight line isn’t as easy as stewards and viewers sometimes tend to believe.
I have taken falls and have caused falls while riding. None were in any way intentional on my part and I would like to think the same of the ones where I came out on the floor. Some instances I have seen, however, can be quite malicious.
In Tylicki’s case you can see how severe the consequences were. I don’t know which way this case will go but if he is successful in his claim I am sure it’s going to lead to more court cases and it will make things a lot stricter on the riding front.