Documentary on Khadijah Mellah’s historic Magnolia Cup glory coming soon

Khadijah Mellah

Khadijah Mellah made history by becoming the first female British Muslim jockey in the UK to win a race when landing the Magnolia Cup charity race on day three of the Qatar Goodwood Festival in dramatic style.

Khadijah, 18 years old learnt to ride at Brixton’s Ebony Horse Club beat model Vogue Williams, Olympian Victoria Pendleton and nine other riders in the race. The documentary team has been tracing her journey from the very start right through to her momentous victory at one of the world’s most famous racecourses.

Khadijah, who has just finished her A-Levels and is set to study mechanical engineering at university in September, learnt to ride at the charity Ebony Horse Club in Brixton but only sat on a racehorse for the first time in April.

Having learnt to ride at Ebony Horse Club she has been riding ridden out at Charlie Fellow’s yard in Newmarket as well as Chris Wall’s yard also in Newmarket and Simon Dow’s stables in Epsom earlier in the year.

There have been many challenges in her preparation such as fasting during Ramadan as well as balancing a gruelling training regime with her A-Levels but Khadijah has come through with flying colours. ITV Racing’s Oli Bell said “the improvement Khadijah has shown has been truly remarkable.”

Her journey from South East London to one of the most famous racecourses in the world where she won the ladies only charity horse race, the Magnolia Cup, will be the subject of a documentary called Riding a Dream which will air in the autumn.

Here’s the trailer for the upcoming documentary:

An introduction to the Magnolia Cup

What is it?

The Magnolia Cup is a charity race ran over five and a half furlongs, which is equivalent to the length of over 12 football pitches, at one of the most beautiful racecourses in the world, Goodwood. The race is the opening race on the third day, Ladies Day, of the Qatar Goodwood Festival which is on 1st August this year. It is often known for its colour and glamour, as the jockey’s silks are designed by some of the fashion industry’s biggest names.

Who rides in it?

The race is open to 12 women who are experienced within the world of business, sport, fashion and media. A range of women take part but they all have one thing in common however, bravery and a drive to compete as well as raising money for this year’s charity Wellbeing of Women.

Find out more about this year’s competitors:

Who are the previous winners?

Previous winners include Camilla Henderson, daughter to top National Hunt trainer Nicky, who was victorious in 2015, and supermodel Edie Campbell who triumphed in 2014. Often the race includes past riders, and this year model and presenter Rosie Tapner, and BBC Weather presenter Alexis Green are among the returning riders.

Previous winners. Left: Camilla Henderson. Right: Edie Campbell with Tom Cruise

Why do they do it?

In the last seven years it has been estimated that the race has raised over £1 million for multiple charities. This year the women are raising money for Wellbeing of Women which is the UK’s leading women’s reproductive and gynaecological health charity which for over 55 years has been dedicated to saving and changing lives through research. The race is an exclusive opportunity for women to show their capabilities in the saddle, and for many, provides a refreshing challenge.