Amateur jockey Khadijah Mellah has made history by becoming the first Briton to ride in a competitive horse race while wearing a hijab. Despite having mounted a racehorse for the first time only four months ago, the 18-year-old student from south London won the amateur ladies-only Magnolia Cup earlier this week. Not only is she the first female Muslim jockey to par-take in British competitive horse-racing, but the Magnolia Cup was also, in fact, her racing debut.
“There are no words to describe it. I can’t believe it, to be fair.” Mellah told Racing TV. “Ambitious women can make it and that is what I want to represent. I’ve had so much support and I can’t wait to see other stories of other women doing the same and getting into the industry.”
Whilst training for the charity race which was held to raise funds for Wellbeing of Women, Mellah’s preparation journey was documented in the upcoming film, “Riding a Dream.” She said: “I want to be a role model to anyone who wants to do something that they wouldn’t initially believe was in their comfort zone and allow people to follow their aspirations.”
“There’s quite a stereotype around Muslim girls and them ‘not being able to follow their sporting passions and dreams… I am thrilled that I am a part of a shift in social understanding of what women can achieve and what they can be good at.”
Mellah began her horse-riding journey with the Ebony Horse Club, a charity and community riding center where she served as a volunteer for seven years. She is set to attain an amateur racing license whilst studying mechanical engineering at University in England this September.