A former amateur rider who says she was left in tears in a weigh-in room after fellow jockey Robbie Dunne accused her of ‘slicing him up’ during a race said in a hearing Thursday disciplinary in London that Dunne’s account of the incident was “unbelievable” and that this had contributed to his decision to turn his back on the race.
Hannah Welch, who rode seven winners out of 70 rule races before dropping out of the race in June 2020, testified at a hearing in which Dunne is accused of intimidating and harassing her running mate Bryony Frost between February and September 2020.
She described the preliminaries and aftermath of a race in November 2018, when she said Dunne initially refused to allow her to line up indoors, then insulted her and accused her for “cutting it in the upper turn” during the race. after the runners return to the weighing room.
“Mr. Dunne… stood very close to me and raised his voice and cursed, I thought I was intimidating myself,” she said.
“This incident has played in my mind a lot since it happened. I was incredibly upset afterwards and that was a factor in my giving up on the National Hunt race, so it’s not something that is easily forgotten.
When Roderick Moore, representing Dunne, told her that Dunne’s witness statement will say he did not curse Welch, she replied, “He was screaming and swearing, definitely insulting me. I was crying and he didn’t stop.
When Moore told him that Dunne “said he never saw you in tears,” Welch replied, “It’s amazing. The panel also heard Thursday from Chris Watts, who led the British Horseracing Authority’s investigation into Frost’s complaint before stepping down as integrity assurance manager in September 2021.
Moore asked Watts about his relationship with Jimmy Frost, Bryony Frost’s father. He suggested that Watts once claimed that Jimmy Frost was “a good friend” and that he stayed on a converted double-decker bus that Frost was renting as a vacation home.
Watts said the claim was’ absolutely ridiculous’, adding: ‘I can assure you 150% I’ve only been there once and that was October 16, 2020 [to take a statement from Frost]”. Watts also denied that he failed to include statements from jockeys Tom Scudamore and Gavin Sheehan who criticized Bryony Frost’s driving style in the final report of his investigation.
Moore told Watts that Scudamore subsequently told another BHA investigator that he had “problems with his driving” and that he “had on occasion encountered difficulty with what I would describe as his lack. respect for other runners and his lack of spatial awareness during the race ”.
Watts insisted that his account of Scudamore’s responses was complete, stating, “That’s what he told me, he got a chance to say what he meant when we had had the conversation. Sheehan, meanwhile, later told a BHA investigator that he told Watts he was considering reporting Frost to Southwell stewards after a race in which she “forced herself into it. a space that was not there ”.
When Moore asked him if he believed he had “truly given [the riders] a full opportunity to open up to you with their views, ”Watts replied,“ Absolutely. “
The hearing will continue on Tuesday.