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Scholarship formed as part of Riding A Dream Academy for riders from under-represented communities

A new racing Academy, aimed at supporting talented riders from under-represented communities to get into horse racing, has been launched.

Scholarship formed as part of Riding A Dream Academy for riders from under-represented communities

Named the Riding A Dream Academy, after the release of the documentary following Khadijah Mellah, who became the first British Muslim woman to win a horse race in the UK, is set to welcome their first intake this summer.

The Academy has been supported by funding from the Racing Foundation and has been independently developed by Oli Bell from ITV Racing and Great British Racing's head of PR, Naomi Lawson.

Initially, it will consist of two programmes for 14-18 year olds: The Khadijah Mellah Scholarship and a residential week, of which both will be led by the British Racing School in Newmarket.

"Racing changed my life forever and I hope that by getting involved in the Riding A Dream Academy it will change other young people's lives too," said Khadijah Mellah, who made history when she ran out victorious in the Magnolia Cup in 2019.

"If you come from my background, it can be difficult to imagine yourself in racing, so I hope the Academy will give other young people the confidence that racing is a sport that you can get involved in, where you will be supported and where you can achieve your dreams and anything you set your mind to."

Television racing presenter Oli Bell said: "We are incredibly grateful to the Racing Foundation for funding The Riding A Dream Academy which will enable lots of young people who wouldn't otherwise have had the opportunity to experience the thrill of horse racing.

"It will hopefully provide a legacy to Khadijah's achievements when she showed that the impossible can be possible and it is something that I am hugely proud to be a part of.

"I look forward to meeting the racing stars of the future who will be a part of this terrific new initiative."

Naomi Howgate, general manager of Ebony Horse Club in Brixton where Khadijah learned to ride, added: "It's brilliant that The Riding A Dream Academy has been developed as part of Khadijah's legacy.

"Having role models that you relate to is so important and it is great that the young people at Ebony and other urban equestrian centres who have been inspired by Khadijah's achievements will also have the opportunity to explore the world of horse racing through the Academy's two programmes."

Author: Jake Wilkin