Racing academy inspired by Khadijah Mellah launches for young riders

Young riders from under-represented communities will have the opportunity to get into racing via a new academy inspired by Khadijah Mellah.

The 20-year-old became the first British Muslim woman to win a horse race in Goodwood's 2019 Magnolia Cup.

The Riding A Dream Academy, named after a film about her story, welcomes its first students this summer.

ITV’s Oli Bell, who supported Mellah on her journey to winning the ladies-only charity race, has now teamed up with Great British Racing’s Naomi Lawson to develop the new initiative.

Funded by the Racing Foundation, the Khadijah Mellah Scholarship and a residential week will be delivered by the British Racing School in Newmarket for riders aged 14-18.

The Jockey Club has also put forward a scholarship place for a rider from St James’ City Farm in Gloucester, a club they have supported for a number of years.

Mellah, who learned to ride at Ebony Horse Club in Brixton, said: “Racing changed my life forever and I hope that by getting involved in the Riding A Dream Academy it will change other young people’s lives too.

"If you come from my background it can be difficult to imagine yourself in racing so I hope the academy will give other young people the confidence that racing is a sport that you can get involved in, where you will be supported and where you can achieve your dreams and anything you set your mind to.”

ITV Racing presenter Bell said: "It will hopefully provide a legacy to Khadijah's achievements when she showed that the impossible can be possible and it is something that I am hugely proud to be a part of.

"I look forward to meeting the racing stars of the future who will be a part of this terrific new initiative.”

Applications need to be submitted by June 14.

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