Born: 27 / 11 / 2000 in Peckham, London
Event: Horse Racing
Biggest sporting accolade: Magnolia Cup Champion Jockey
An inspiration, trailblazer, and history maker and only 21, Khadijah Mellah is remarkable person. At just 18 years old, Khadijah became the first hijab-wearing jockey to win a competitive horse race in Britain, winning the Magnolia Cup in 2019 riding Haverland. Whilst Khadijah may be a part of a single digit group of British Muslim jockeys, past and present, she is certainly striving to ensure she is one of many more in years to come and has founded The Riding A Dream Academy and Khadijah Mellah Scholarship programme, to support talented riders from under-represented communities to get into racing.
Khadijah’s incredible story began when coming across a leaflet at a local mosque. The leaflet contained information about Ebony Horse Club in Brixton and with interest peaked having admired horses on TV, Khadijah thought she’d give it a try. Within 4 months of first sitting on a racehorse and despite being the 25-1 outsider, Khadijah won her first race and in turn became the first British Muslim female jockey to win a race in UK. Making this accomplishment even more astonishing was the fact that Khadijah had been fasting for Ramadan and studying her A-levels throughout much of her learning to ride and further, as most novices will testify too, Khadijah suffered from several falls and failed an assessment of the British Racing School; only being deemed fit to race for the first time in the days preceding the Magnolia Cup. This achievement was nothing short of remarkable and was recognised with being awarded the Winner of The Sunday Times Young Sportswoman of the Year 2019.
Khadijah’s remarkable journey from Ebony Horse Club in Brixton to the winner’s enclosure at Goodwood was the subject of TV documentary which was attended by members of the Royal Family at its premier at the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton. A true pioneer and a recent graduate of mechanical engineering at Brighton University, it is safe to say Khadijah’s journey is only just beginning as she continues to fight for greater equality and inclusion in the world of horse racing and further afield. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for Khadijah as she pursues her dream of becoming an elite professional jockey.