Brixton woman to compete at top racecourse

Lucy Williams and Ethan Delcroix-Jones visit Brixton’s Ebony Horse Club to find out more about its latest success story, Khadijah Mellah

Khadijah Mellah
Legendary jockey Frankie Dettori and ITV Racing presenter Oli Bell with Khadijah Mellah

Khadijah Mellah, 18, from Brixton’s Ebony Horse Club, is to race alongside 11 other riders (including Olympic medal winner Victoria Pendleton and model Vogue Williams) at Goodwood Racecourse on 1 August. Organisers say that a capacity crowd of 25,000 will be watching.

Khadijah said: “I am super-duper excited about riding in the Magnolia Cup.” She has ridden at the racing yards of Chris Wall and Simon Dow. “It was a great experience seeing how different racehorses are.

“It was my first time on a racecourse at Newmarket last month, so it was good to get my head around what race day is like and what it’ll be like on the day. It’s going to be a busy few months with my A-Levels as well, but I can’t wait to get going.”

A documentary team will follow Khadijah’s training regime and her journey from Brixton to Goodwood, one of the most famous racecourses in the UK. Goodwood, Great British Racing and the Racing Foundation are funding the documentary which will be produced by Tom Bolwell and Mattia Reiniger who helped film the Oscar nominated Black Sheep.

Horses at Ebony Horse Club
Horses at Ebony Horse Club

ITV Racing presenter Oli Bell who is a patron of Ebony Horse Club said: “I am incredibly excited about the documentary and its potential to shine a light on Ebony’s brilliant work and the ways in which it is opening up opportunities for its members in racing, the sport that I love.

“It will be an incredible achievement for Khadijah to go from riding at the club to being able to compete on a racehorse at Goodwood and we are all so impressed with her commitment and drive. She is a great personality and a brilliant rider, and we will all be rooting for her in the Magnolia Cup.”

Ebony Horse Club engagement manager David Fleming with Chips
Ebony Horse Club engagement manager David Fleming with Chips

David Fleming, engagement manager at Ebony Horse Club, who introduced Oli to the club, spoke to the Bugle. The club has 150, mostly local, kids who are members along with eight local schools with special needs children and children from disadvantaged backgrounds. He welcomed the publicity of the event which he said aids the main focus of the club, the children.

Khadijah is not the only Ebony Horse Club member to have achieved great things. One of the latest is now working with Team Godolphin that spans four continents, from Dubai to Japan, and has won more than 5,000 races worldwide.