I got harassed so much, says woman jockey as racing chiefs probe bullying claims

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A top female horse trainer has claimed that a rider pinned her against a changing room wall.

Gay Kelleway, 53, told the Daily Mirror that the man pushed himself on her and said "You know you want it".

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) said it is taking "extremely seriously" the allegations of sexual harassment and bullying from Ms Kelleway, whose career as a trainer and jockey spans three decades.

It said in a statement: "The BHA takes these allegations extremely seriously.

"We are working with all partners in our sport to ensure people are treated with respect.

"We are contacting the trainer concerned to seek further details."

Ms Kelleway became the first, and still the only, female jockey to win a race at Royal Ascot with her ride on Sprowston Boy in the Queen Alexandra Stakes in 1987.

She told the Mirror: "What I went through would be enough to push someone, especially fragile girls, to suicide. I got harassed so much, people have no idea what sort of a tough time I had. It was horrible.

"I just wished they would leave me alone. All I wanted was to do my job to the best of my ability."

Gay Kelleway (Simon Cooper/PA)
Gay Kelleway (Simon Cooper/PA)

Ms Kelleway claims that a nude rider approached her in a sauna, she had to cope with visits by two trainers late at night at her hotel, and that she felt safer travelling to races in a horse box rather than risk an unwanted advance by getting into a car.

She is the daughter of Paul Kelleway - a successful National Hunt jockey of the 1960s and 70s - and rode her first winner at the age of 17 before forging a career which has made her one of British racing's best-known female figures.

She was Champion Professional Lady Rider three years in a row.

Now based at the Queen Alexandra Stables in the village of Exning, near Newmarket in Suffolk, Ms Kelleway has been training since 1991 and has worked with 600 winners.