‘A big part of my life has been proving people wrong’: history-making teenager in TV documentary this weekend

A documentary charting the story the Peckham teenager Khadijah Mellah, who made history at this summer’s Glorious Goodwood, will air on ITV this weekend.

Khadijah, 18, stormed into the history books when she won the Magnolia Cup at the Sussex racecourse on 1 August.

She first sat on a racehorse just four months previously and the Magnolia Cup marked the first time a person had raced in a hijab on a British racecourse, with her victory making her the first British Muslim woman to ride a winner on UK soil.

Riding A Dream, produced by UnVeil Arts, will be shown on ITV at 12.15pm on Saturday (2 November) — directly after the Rugby World Cup final.

“A big part of my life has been proving people wrong,” said Khadijah, who won the charity race aboard the Charlie Fellows-trained Haverland.

“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’s quite a stereotype around Muslim girls and them ‘not being able to follow their sporting dreams’. 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 and dreams.”

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The documentary follows Khadijah’s journey from Ebony Horse Club in Brixton, where she learnt to ride, through the challenges she faced while preparing for the race — including fasting during Ramadan, preparing for her A-levels and making the jump from riding in a school to galloping racehorses.

“Growing up in Peckham with no real connection to horses before she started riding at Ebony Horse Club, Khadijah’s fairytale story broke down barriers and stereotypes and proved that there are no limits to what you can achieve when you put your mind to it,” states the synopsis from ITV.

“Hers is a story that not only impressed a nation but also inspired the world.”

For a full interview with Khadijah, don’t miss today’s issue of Horse & Hound (7 November).

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday