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Riding a Dream Academy participants selected for residential week and scholarship Image

Riding a Dream Academy participants selected for residential week and scholarship

Monday, 26 July 2021

After a careful selection process, the first cohort of the Riding A Dream Academy has been announced. The 18 riders from underrepresented communities will start their courses in August, with ten joining the Residential Week, a riding-based course which acts as an introduction to racing, and eight talented riders joining the prestigious Khadijah Mellah Scholarship. 

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.”

Four of the young people accepted onto the academy come from the Urban Equestrian Academy (UEA), which is also supported by the Racing Foundation. FR33DOM Zampaladus who runs the UEA is delighted. “I am so proud of the young people who have been accepted onto the Riding A Dream Academy," he smiled. 

"They have all shown that no matter where you come from, if you work hard and believe in yourself you can achieve anything. We are all very proud that the Urban Equestrian Academy has had such an impact on young kids’ lives in Leicester and prepared them for this next step in racing. We are very grateful to the Riding A Dream Academy for giving them this opportunity.”

Amongst the other successful candidates are riders from Ebony Horse Club in Brixton and Park Lane Riding Stables in Twickenham.

Amongst those selected for the Scholarship is Aamilah Aswat, from Gloucester, whose individual space has been funded by The Jockey Club, which has a long association with St James’ City Farm where she learned to ride. Aamilah said: “I am so excited to have been accepted onto the Scholarship. I have always loved horses and my dream is to ride in and win the Grand National. I recently won my first pony race and it was so amazing. I am so pleased that through the Scholarship I will be able to get even more experience in racing and hopefully achieve all my dreams.”

The announcement of the Academy’s attendees comes on the anniversary of Khadijah Mellah’s success in the Magnolia Cup at Goodwood in 2019. Competition for places on the Academy has been intense with 55 applications - three times the number of young people applying as there were available spots. 

Khadijah is passionate about encouraging riders from underrepresented communities to achieve their dreams in racing. “We have been overwhelmed with the response to the Riding A Dream Academy and it has been really humbling to have read so many incredible applications from young people with a passion for racing," she said.

"We are so excited to be welcoming our first attendees this summer and hope that the Academy will become a long-term project which continues to support young people from underrepresented communities, disadvantaged backgrounds and those who wouldn’t otherwise have a pathway into racing to get involved in the sport. If just one of our attendees went onto ride in a race because they had been given the chance to be on the Academy, I would be just over the moon.”

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