12 more suffered similar abuse in horse racing to me, says Gay Kelleway

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Trainer Gay Kelleway has been contacted by 12 other people who say they have encountered similar abuse in horse racing after her allegations of sexual harassment

Gay Kelleway has been contacted by 12 other people who say they have encountered similar abuse in horse racing after her allegations of sexual harassment.

The former jockey and now trainer, who has overseen more than 600 winners in her career, claimed a famous male rider forced himself upon her in a newspaper interview earlier this month.

Kelleway has chosen to speak out about experiences - but concedes she understands why others she has heard from might chose to remain silent.

She told Sportswomen: "The most horrific incident was a jockey pushing me up against the wall in the sauna. (It) terrified me - I was the sweet age of 21 and looked about 12.

"There was an incident in the sauna when the jockey started touching me and I legged it. I had verbal abuse in cars getting lifts to races.

Gay Kelleway
Image: Former jockey Kelleway wants more victims to speak out about their experiences

"An owner turned up with two prostitutes knocking on my door when we were racing abroad. When I started training, I had trainers knocking my door when I was staying in hotels. It was exhausting.

"I had no-one to reach out to and give me help or talk to and I couldn't talk to my parents because they were working and just on with their job. That's what you did.

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"Some (people I've heard from) don't really want to come out. They say it's in the past and they don't want to rake it up again, which is fair enough. It's hard to rake that stuff up.

"Some feel humiliated coming out, embarrassed. Dirty, I suppose, is a word you could use - but I think if they could come out and feel strong enough, I would encourage them to speak up."

Will Lambe, of the British Horseracing Authority, admits Kelleway's allegations came as a surprise but stressed his organisation is committed to helping victims.

Lightscameraction ridden by Luke Morris
Image: Kelleway, right, has overseen more than 600 winners in her career as a jockey and trainer

He said: "We were shocked. Where there have been incidents in the past, they have been isolated. In general, it's one of our great strengths that men and women compete equally in our sport.

"We've been in touch with Gay to offer her support and advice but the behaviour outlined is contrary to the sport's values.

"We treat everyone with respect - that's our participants and our horses. We have clear values in place but we need to identify if we have participants at risk.

"We need people to come forward if they have been subject to such behaviour because it's not acceptable in our sport. The first thing is that people feel able to come forward in confidence.

"The authorities will treat such matters seriously and we have a whole sport committed to changing any behaviour and rooting out any behaviour that needs to be addressed."

Racing Welfare's Dawn Goodfellow expects more victims to come forward in light of Kelleway's allegations
Image: Racing Welfare's Dawn Goodfellow expects more victims to come forward in light of Kelleway's allegations

Racing Welfare, a charity which supports the workforce in British racing, says anyone who has concerns should contact their helpline on 0800 6300 443.

Their chief executive Dawn Goodfellow said: "The general atmosphere is that now people do feel more comfortable.

"I would be surprised if horse racing doesn't have one or two more people at least come forward because that would be representative of society as a whole."

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