Khadijah Mellah, 1st UK Jockey to Wear Hijab, Wins 2019 Magnolia Cup

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 1, 2019

CHICHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01: Khadijah Mellah riding Haverland win The Magnolia Cup The Goodwood Ladies' Race at Goodwood Racecourse on August 01, 2019 in Chichester, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Khadijah Mellah set two landmarks Thursday in the 2019 Magnolia Cup.

The 18-year-old became the first jockey to compete in Britain while wearing a hijab when she headed for the starting gate. Moments later, Mellah celebrated a victory.

Racing TV @RacingTV

What a story! Peckham teenager Khadijah Mellah, from @EbonyHorseClub and the first Briton to race in a hijab, lands a memorable #MagnoliaCup at @Goodwood_Races 👏 @WellbeingofWmen https://t.co/kdInXxij6d

Oli Bell @olibellracing

I could not be prouder of this inspirational young woman. 2 months ago she hadn’t even sat on a racehorse. Khadijah Mellah is a superstar and today she showed the world that anything is possible. #ridingadream https://t.co/M7DbJAFmMk

"Even in my wildest dreams I never imagined this could happen," Mellah said, per the Guardian's Greg Wood. "I only sat on a racehorse a couple of months ago and I am just never going to forget this day. To be honest, I want to go back and do it all over again, what an incredible feeling."

The Magnolia Cup is an annual charity race at Goodwood Racecourse. Victoria Pendleton, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in cycling, was among the women taking part in this year's event.

Beyond just her age, Mellah explained to CNN's George Ramsay why she's unique on the racing circuit.

"I've been looking at the racing history and typically it's all just middle class white women," she said. "It's a nice change to see someone who isn't typically racing to be racing. I feel like it could open up doors for people and I like the idea that I'm starting a little movement and surprising people."

The teenager certainly set a high bar to clear for herself should she return to racing.

Wood noted Mellah is heading off to college in the fall but will potentially apply for an amateur jockey's license, which would allow her to compete in additional events.


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