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Top female jockey claims famous male rider assaulted her in changing room

A JOCKEY who made history as the only woman to ride a winner at Royal Ascot has spoken of the horrific culture of sexual harassment at the heart of horse racing.

Gay Kelleway, 53, says a well-known rider pinned her against a wall as she changed her clothes and said “you know you want it”.

 Gay Kelleway is the only woman to ride a winner at Royal AscotTimes Newspapers Ltd Gay Kelleway is the only woman to ride a winner at Royal Ascot  Gay, now 53, has opened up about her horrific experiences in the male-dominated sportRex Features Gay, now 53, has opened up about her horrific experiences in the male-dominated sport

It is just one of a string of assaults and sexist comments she was forced to endure over her career.

She told the Mirror: “What I went through would be enough to push someone, especially fragile girls, to suicide.

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

Gay was also confronted by a nude rider in a sauna, visited by trainers late at night at her hotel and was even forced to travel to races in a horse box to avoid harassment in the car.

At 17 she won her first race and was forced to put up with sexist comments about being “beaten by a girl” when she took the top spot.

 Gay, now a top trainer, says she was assaulted and insultedRex Features Gay, now a top trainer, says she was assaulted and insulted  The horse-lover was Champion Professional Lady Rider three years in a rowAllsport The horse-lover was Champion Professional Lady Rider three years in a row

The changing room incident took place a short distance away from officials of the sport.

The jockey told him she’d scream and he said that “no one would hear”.

He only stopped when she kneed him in the groin.

Her comments come as a flood of sexual assault allegations arise from Hollywood and Parliament.

 In total, Gay rode some 60 winnersRex Features In total, Gay rode some 60 winners  She has been forced to sack stable-hands for harassing other staffAlamy She has been forced to sack stable-hands for harassing other staff  The industry has improved, she says, but still has a long way to goAssociated Sports Photography – George Herringshaw The industry has improved, she says, but still has a long way to go

She added: “I’ve known incidents with head lads harassing girls, grooms, in the yard. They’ve had to be sacked.”

British Horseracing Authority’s Martin Fewell said: “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.”

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