The British Horseracing Authority has its work cut out to change the culture of the sport following the conclusion on the Bryony Frost case.
Even as the BHA was giving a press conference to welcome the findings of an independent disciplinary panel and discuss next steps, the Professional Jockeys Association was issuing a statement questioning the process and the idea that National Hunt racing has a problem.
‘This case has been a ground-breaking one for British racing, the first of its kind, and it is important that it acts as a catalyst for further change within the industry,’ the BHA said in a statement.
The authority tried to tread a fine line, emphasising the need for fundamental changes, while at pains to point out that there are lots of good people in the country’s weighing rooms and on its race courses.
‘We understand that, for the vast majority of those who work in the sport – and in particular in the jockeys’ weighing room – it is a positive, supportive, welcoming place. We recognise the pressures on those involved in the sport, and that temperatures will at times be raised.
‘However, there is a line as to what is acceptable. It is essential that when something does go wrong that people feel that they can call out bad behaviour, and not be made to suffer in silence. The independent Judicial Panel Chair voiced concerns regarding these issues in his judgement. We call on everyone in the industry to recognise this. ‘.
The BHA said work was well under way to change behaviour in racing, with a new Code of Conduct due in the New Year, the use of ‘jockey coaches’ who work with young riders, the development of new facilities to allow women and men to separate at courses and additional training and development of all racing staff.
The BHA has also said it will review its disciplinary process in light of this case.
Pressed on the PJA’s reaction to the outcome of the disciplinary hearing, Julie Harrington, chief executive of the British Horseracing Authority, said: ‘I think it is really important it is greeted with a spirit of openness and this is not about pitting one part of the sport against another, this is about us trying to do the right thing for our sport in the long term to make sure we keep pace with what is acceptable and not acceptable in society as a while.’