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Dunne could get three-year ban for ‘bullying’

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Jockey Robbie Dunne. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA

Jockey Robbie Dunne. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA

Jockey Robbie Dunne. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA

Robbie Dunne, the Irish jump jockey accused of bullying and harassment by Bryony Frost, will fight to avoid a potential three-year ban when he appears before a disciplinary panel next week.

Several days of evidence are expected as the rider is accused by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) of conduct prejudicial to the good reputation of racing and acting in a violent or improper manner.

The hearing begins next Tuesday, with five more days set aside if necessary, into the apparent feud with the most successful British woman jump jockey. Frost had first alluded to the fall-out following her biggest win to date, on Frodon, in last year’s King George VI Chase at Kempton on St Stephen’s Day, by which time her complaint to the BHA was already being investigated.

Dunne, 36, has known about the charges, which carry a maximum three-year suspension should he be found guilty, since April.

The BHA’s head of integrity, Chris Watts, who has subsequently left the organisation, had compiled a dossier of claims that Dunne’s behaviour on the days in question involved “verbally abusing and threatening a fellow jockey”.

The governing body has also said he is in breach of Rule (J)19 and J(20), which covers “acting in a violent or improper manner”.

Dunne is expected to be at next week’s hearing in person but it is unclear yet whether Frost, as a witness, will be attending in person or via remote link.

Though there has been bad blood between the jockeys going back to when Frost was a conditional rider, under Rule (J)19 (conduct prejudicial to horseracing) the BHA has focused on three days’ racing in particular; by “verbally abusing and threatening a fellow licensed jockey” at Stratford Racecourse on July 8, 2020, at Uttoxeter on August 17, 2020, and at Southwell on September 3, 2020.

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The same three days feature in his charge under Rule (J) 20 (a person must not act in a violent or improper manner).

The penalty for a breach of conduct prejudicial to the good reputation of racing has an entry point of a £2,000 fine or suspension of three months, although the range is between £1,000 and £15,000 or one month to three years’ suspension. For violent or improper conduct, the entry point for a jockey is a four-day suspension. The range is anything from one to 21 days.

Dunne, who has missed a chunk of the season through injury, denied the allegations when questioned for the BHA report.

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2021]


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