Jockey Adam Wedge admits regret over 'sexist' remark after Welsh Grand National winner sparks social media backlash
TOP jockey Adam Wedge has admitted his regret over a 'sexist' remark after the Welsh Grand National winner sparked a social media backlash.
Wedge, 31, had just ridden Secret Reprieve to an incredible victory in the Chepstow showpiece last Saturday when he said racing was a 'man's sport'.
The heat-of-the-moment comment, just seconds after his win, was a reference to being able to ride in the big race after two crunching falls earlier in the day.
Asked how he was able to carry on despite the falls, Wedge said: "It's a man's sport at the end of the day."
The words were quickly picked up by viewers of ITV Racing, with one branding them 'sexist'.
They said: "Adam Wedge being sexist on his winning speech on ITV. Lovely."
Another social media user said it was a 'very poor use of words' given the success of female jockeys such as Bryony Frost and Rachael Blackmore over jumps and Hollie Doyle on the flat.
A fellow user wrote: "Disappointingly, Adam Wedge who piloted Secret Reprieve to take the Welsh National brainfarts in his post-race interview that 'it's a man's sport'."
Wedge has now addressed the comment and said he understands why some people were offended.
He told the Racing Post: "It's a turn of phrase that should be left behind in this day and age.
"It wasn't meant as a few people have suggested it was, but I can understand why people have taken it that way.
"It was only a reference to me having a hard day, but the turn of phrase should have been that it's a tough game.
"My adrenaline was up and I just didn't think clearly about what I was saying and then it was too late.
"It's not something that should be said, but I did say it and I understand the controversy about it.
"I hope everyone understands the comment wasn't meant in the context it first appeared.
"I'm fully behind there being more female jockeys in the weighing room and I think it's fantastic the game's opening up in the way it is."
Unfortunately Wedge – who rode a Cheltenham Festival winner for female trainer Rebecca Curtis last year – has seen his achievement overshadowed by his comments.
Wedge, who now has taken some time off to recover from the injuries sustained on the day, had to perform an incredible balancing act with the race at his mercy.
His saddle slipped and girth snapped in the closing stages of the race, meaning he had to use all his skill and balance just to stay on the 5-2 favourite.
But he managed to do just that and record a landmark victory for Welsh trainer Evan Williams.
Many racing followers have defended Wedge's comments, insisting it was clear he meant no malice.
One said: "I didn't even notice he's daid it in the interview, this is PC gone madd and if anyone does take offence by it then they need to go and give their head a little wobble."
Another commented: "Every person with common sense knows what he meant. If this is going to happen then you will have no jockey to interview after a race."
While a fellow Twitter user wrote: "Sign of the times I'm afraid. Nobody with any level of intelligence would ever think you were disrespecting of some of the brilliant and brave female riders we've had over the years, especially in the jumps game."
Wedge's comments come during a British Horseracing Authority investigation into the treatment of King George winner Frost.
Fears she has been bullied by rival jockeys have forced chiefs to launch a probe.
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