The Riding A Dream Academy is inspired by the incredible achievements of Khadijah Mellah who was the first British Muslim woman to ride in and win a British horse race. Its aims are to help young people from diverse communities, disadvantaged backgrounds and urban equestrian centres get involved in the sport.
In 2019, Khadijah Mellah became the first British Muslim woman to ride in and win a British horse race when she won the Magnolia Cup at Goodwood racecourse. Khadijah learned to ride at Ebony Horse Club in Brixton and only sat on a racehorse a couple of months before the race. She has since gone onto become an ambassador for Great British Racing and is currently a student at Brighton University.
We are incredibly grateful to the Racing Foundation for funding the Riding A Dream Academy. The Foundation supports charitable work in the areas of equine welfare, people, community engagement and environment & emerging issues. Since it began, it has awarded grants totalling £23million. You can find out more here.
The British Racing School (BRS) is a specialist training centre in Newmarket, the headquarters of British horseracing. As horse racing’s premier training facility we are so pleased that the BRS will be looking after and supporting our young people. You can find out more about the school here. We are also delighted to be working with The Pony Racing Authority which plays a pivotal role in training and developing talented young riders.
The Riding A Dream Academy was conceived as an idea by Philip Bell and has been developed by his brother, ITV presenter, Oli Bell and Naomi Lawson, all of whom were producers of the documentary film of the same name which followed Khadijah's extraordinary story.
Racing is the second biggest spectator sport in the UK and home to some of the world's most prestigious sporting events including the Derby, Cheltenham Festival and Royal Ascot. There are 59 racecourses in Great Britain and it is free for under 18s to attend the majority of events, when accompanied by an adult. To find out more go to Great British Racing.