OPEN war broke out in the racing world on Thursday night.
Emotions surged on all sides as the Bryony Frost and Robbie Dunne bullying story finally – and so benevolently – came to a conclusion.
After the dust of the opening skirmishes had settled, the amount of the conflict becomes clear.
An 18-month ban on Dunne, the BHA and the Professional Racing Players Association at the oligarchs and the reputations of several famous racing figures in the gutter.
The sport has faced a lot of negative headlines over the years, but you just have to wonder about the long-term effects of the case.
The UK jumpers are in total revolt – they feel Dunne has been exposed and have pointed the finger at the authorities and the media.
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There’s no doubt that the BHA handled things badly – this should never have lasted as long as it did and their communication the whole time has been terrible.
To be fair, they did say they would learn from how they handled this incident, which has never happened.
But the PJA, who came off the field with a few fiery statements and was extremely defensive, needs to take a long and tough look at himself.
In their first press release after the ruling, they did not admit that Frost, who we must remember as one of them, was bullied.
They refuted the findings of an independent, experienced panel – chaired by a former Old Bailey judge – who sat through 20 hours of dense evidence.
They claim that Frost “feels bullied”, but disagree that she to be bullied. Then there was an even more bizarre statement, “on behalf of female equestrian athletes”.
We don’t know anyone, we don’t know how many – are they all female riders? If so, surely it must have input from Frost?
I think it’s safe to assume the answer is no, as the “female riders”, who chose to remain anonymous, proceeded to poke fun at Frost under the bus.
It’s ironic that the PJA sympathizes with Bryony’s isolation, but continues to isolate her further.
The female jockeys followed the same path as their male counterparts in hurling mud at the BHA and the press – but all failed to see the bigger picture.
And it’s actually pretty simple – there’s no room for the kind of shameful, misguided behavior Frost has to endure, and their ‘us against the world’ attitude doesn’t help anyone.
The PJA’s claims and their lack of support for Frost over the years have left most people distrustful.
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While the stance is hardly surprising as they lobbied to get the hearing going, while there has been a steady stream of pro-Dunne sentiment from current starters and before.
Earlier in the week, we heard that three servants giving evidence at the hearing refused to work for Frost at Fontwell on Tuesday.
This childish act was startling enough, and then came a subtle tweet from AP McCoy in which he recounted fond memories with his valet friend.
The 20-time champion track and field athlete’s post is just one of a number of misdeeds on social media.
One shop owner mused: “If possible Bryony threw an olive branch and demanded that the ban be overturned.
“In return, I hope to receive a sincere apology from Robbie. I may be in a dream world, but it’s for both of us.”
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Dreamland is a word for it. Maybe they could hold hands and go into the sunset after they’ve put on their makeup?
Another flash said: “Can’t the BHA just drop the case and let Bryony and Robbie just accept that they don’t move on and move on?”
Given that many of those born into the race have had the privilege of attending public school, it never ceases to amaze me how so many of them seem to be missing just a few cards from a deck.
It’s impossible to forget in the midst of this swirling storm – with daggers thrown from all directions – that Frost, the victim in all of this, must feel more isolated than ever.
She had to enter the weight room every day with the understanding that her colleagues gave her and did not accept her challenge.
The BHA is aiming to roll out a sweeping new code of conduct early next year that will outline the standards riders must adhere to.
That’s not to say that every weight room in the country is a toxic environment – far from there. I said last week and I will say it again, most of the drivers are good people.
But there is clearly a malicious, hidden atmosphere that prevents some scammers from speaking out if they feel they have been treated unfairly.
The announcements to the weight room were loud and clear – whether they chose to listen or not was another matter.
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https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/horseracing/17003741/pja-bryony-frost-robbie-dunne-ban-bullying/ PJA had to look at herself in the mirror after failing to support Bryony Frost during the bullying story