Khadijah Mellah makes history at Goodwood

Ross Houston
August 3, 2019

18-year-old Khadijah Mellah, from south-east London, was competing in a charity race at Glorious Goodwood where she took first place in the Magnolia Cup aboard 25-1 outsider Haverland.

Mellah found herself blocked in at the start but steered her mount into a gap and kicked on to win.

British Jockey Khadijah Mellah cuddles her horse Haverland after winning the all-female Magnolia Cup.

Jockey Frankie Dettori told BBC Sport: "I watched the race".

"I passed the person next to me and I thought, "I can't believe it is happening", Mellah said.

"I have worked hard with Jim Boyle and can't thank him enough for all his advice and support and I'm also indebted to Richard Fahey for providing me with the horse and some great riding out experience in recent weeks too".

"Everyone was on the ball at the start and there were three horses in a line in front of me, like a brick wall, and the kickback was flying in my face and I didn't know what to do, so I pulled out to see what would happen".

"As I was coming down the straight I just saw this swoosh go past and I could actually hear Khadijah crying as she was coming past me, she knew she had it in the bag I would suggest!"

Mellah first began riding seven years ago after discovering Ebony Horse, a community riding center.

However, it has not been all plain sailing for the star as she had to get 12 stitches after falling off her horse last month. She is believed to be the first person in the appear in a competitive horse race while wearing a hijab.

"I am thrilled that I am part of a shift in social understanding of what women can achieve and what they can be good at".

"There are no words to describe how proud I am of her".

"She is an incredible mentor for the younger kids at the club".

"I thought, "oh my god, this is happening" and it really pumped me up", she said.

The Magnolia Cup is a charity race event aimed at raising money for Wellbeing of Women, the UK's leading women's reproductive and gynaecological health charity.

Australia's VRC ambassador Georgia Connolly finished out of the placings as did dual Olympic cycling champion Victoria Pendleton.

Ms Mellah said she will try to obtain an amateur licence as she "loved every second".

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