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Eight Talented Riders Kick On with the Khadijah Mellah Scholarship at Newmarket's British Racing School Image

Eight Talented Riders Kick On with the Khadijah Mellah Scholarship at Newmarket's British Racing School

Monday, 23 August 2021

Eight talented riders today embark on their year long Khadijah Mellah Scholarship which starts with a residential week at the British Racing School at Newmarket.

The scholarship is part of the Riding a Dream Academy, which is funded by the Racing Foundation and aims to offer opportunities to young people from underrepresented communities.

Amongst those selected for the Scholarship is 15-year-old Aamilah from Gloucester who spoke to the Racing Foundation about how she felt when she found out she had been selected for the scholarship.

"When I was selected for the scholarship I was sat on my bed in my bedroom," said Aamilah. "I got the email and started jumping up and down, I was so excited! I emailed it straight to my mum and dad and they were so happy for me. My parents have been so supportive and dad has been taking me to Sophie Leech's yard."

Aamilah learned to ride at St James City Farm in Cheltenham, where she has been progressing her riding on ponies. "Out of everything, I'm most excited about developing my riding. Going from riding ponies to riding racehorses is really different; I've only ridden a racehorse twice so I'm really excited to do that more.

"My dream is to win the Grand National; I've dreamed about doing it for the last two years and I think it would be the best feeling in the world. Hopefully from the scholarship I can develop my skills to work in a race yard and bring me one step closer to that!"

Eight talented young riders have been selected to join the scholarship and the residential course will be the first time they meet in person. 

"Meeting everyone else at the scholarship will really exciting especially as they'll all be on the same journey as me," said Aamilah. "Hopefully all eight of us will support each other as it will be amazing if, as adults, some of us grow up to work in the industry."

But what is it that makes riding a racehorse so special? "Riding racehorses is the biggest adrenaline kick," beamed Aamilah."It feels amazing to have the wind gushing in your face. I can't describe it; you have to experience it for yourself!"

The Racing Foundation is delighted to fund the Riding a Dream Academy pilot year. Rob Hezel, chief executive of the Racing Foundation, said: "By funding the Riding a Dream Academy, the Racing Foundation is supporting British racing’s long-term ambition to create a truly diverse, inclusive and welcoming sport.

“We'd like to offer our congratulations to all the young riders who have been selected to take part in the residential week and scholarship, and hope they enjoy every moment of this exciting opportunity.”

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