Glo­ri­ous! Rider in hi­jab races into his­tory

Daily Express - - NEWS - By David Pilditch

BRI­TAIN’S first fe­male Mus­lim jockey made his­tory at Glo­ri­ous Good­wood yes­ter­day af­ter sen­sa­tion­ally win­ning her de­but race.

Stu­dent Khadi­jah Mel­lah, 18, wept tears of joy af­ter storm­ing to vic­tory in front of a crowd of 25,000 ju­bi­lant spec­ta­tors.

In­cred­i­bly Khadi­jah – who learned to ride at a club for in­nercity young­sters – first sat on a race­horse only a few months ago.

In dra­matic fash­ion Khadi­jah took the lead in the home straight, fly­ing past the field of 11 riders in the Mag­no­lia Cup. The ama­teur rider, from Peck­ham, south-east Lon­don, left Olympic cy­cling cham­pion turned jockey Vic­to­ria Pendle­ton trail­ing in her wake.

The fairy­tale win in the pres­ti­gious char­ity race for fe­male riders, run over five-and-a-half fur­longs, lit up Ladies Day at the course.

Mean­while, race­go­ers were keen to turn up the glam­our at the Sus­sex race­course. Many rev­ellers sported brightly coloured out­fits, with flo­ral pat­terns and bold prints prov­ing a pop­u­lar choice. TV pre­sen­ter Char­lotte Hawkins was in the crowd, as was Katie Price with new fi­ance Kris Boyson.

Khadi­jah – the first per­son in the UK to ap­pear in a com­pet­i­tive race in a hi­jab – was mobbed by well­wish­ers af­ter the race.

She broke down in tears be­fore

shar­ing a hug with proud mother Selma. She said: “I’m just in shock. I can’t be­lieve it. That was such an un­be­liev­able ex­pe­ri­ence.

“It is just mind-blow­ing to think I was even in the same race as Vic­to­ria Pendle­ton, let alone to beat her and the rest of the women. Even in my wildest dreams I never imag­ined this could hap­pen. I only sat on a race­horse a cou­ple of months ago. I am never go­ing to for­get this day.

“To be hon­est, I want to go back and do it all over again – what an in­cred­i­ble feel­ing.”

She added: “There have been early morn­ings and fitness train­ing, but it has been well worth it.”

Ap­pren­tice star Luisa Ziss­man, who also took part in the race, said: “Khadi­jah came fly­ing past me cry­ing. It was epic and a wellde­served win.”

Khadi­jah took up rid­ing at Ebony Horse Club in Brix­ton, south Lon­don, a char­ity that helps dis­ad­van­taged young peo­ple.

David Fleming, from the char­ity, said: “We all got a real kick out of watch­ing Khadi­jah do so bril­liantly to­day. It takes a spe­cial kind of per­son to do what she has done.”

Leg­endary jockey Frankie Det­tori said: “It’s in­cred­i­ble, un­be­liev­able. I met her yes­ter­day and she is such a sweet per­son.”

Char­lie Fel­lowes, who trained the win­ning horse Haver­land, said: “Khadi­jah’s just a leg­end. I’ve never known any­one with so much fo­cus and de­ter­mi­na­tion.”

Khadi­jah said she hoped the tri­umph would in­spire oth­ers to “fol­low their dreams”. She said: “Am­bi­tious women can make it. That is what I want to rep­re­sent.”

Khadi­jah with proud mother Selma; and right, fly­ing past the field in the home straight Ju­bi­lant Khadi­jah Mel­lah, 18, with Haver­land; left, with fel­low riders in­clud­ing Vic­to­ria Pendle­ton and Luisa Zuss­man

Mu­sic group Elle And The Pocket Belles joined race­go­ers, far left, for Ladies Day; right, TV pre­sen­ter Char­lotte Hawkins opted for a flo­ral look

Pic­tures: TIM MERRY, PA, GETTY, VANTAGE

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