The premiere took place this week at the Ritzy Picturehouse in Brixton, London, ahead of the documentary’s first broadcast, this Saturday, 2 November at 12.15 pm.
Additional high-profile guests at the premiere included the Duke of Richmond, ITV Newsreader Alastair Stewart and broadcaster Ed Chamberlain.
Riding a Dream, produced by Oli and Philip Bell and directed by Mattia Reiniger and Tommy Bolwell, follows the extraordinary story of Khadijah Mellah, who, at the age of 18, made history and global headlines this summer, becoming the first British Muslim woman to win a horserace. Mellah, from Peckham, South London, raced at one of British horseracing’s most prestigious festivals, Glorious Goodwood, barely four months after she had sat on a racehorse for the first time.
From Ebony Horse Club, a community riding centre in Brixton, where she first learnt to ride, to one of the highlights of the global sporting calendar, the documentary follows Mellah as she prepares to compete in the Magnolia Cup, an all-female charity race against the likes of Olympian Victoria Pendleton, model Vogue Williams, and professional event rider Sophie van der Merwe.
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Mellah juggled A-Level studies and Ramadan fasting with a gruelling training and assessment regime just to make the cut for the Cup. But with just four months of preparation under her belt, Mellah overcame all the odds and accomplished the unthinkable, she won the race. Her determination, discipline and devotion resulted in one of the most remarkable sporting success stories of 2019 and also secured her a spot in British sporting history.
Following the victory, Mellah received a note of congratulations from The Duchess of Cornwall, President of Ebony Horse Club, whom she had met only a few weeks prior to the race during a reception for the Club, hosted by Her Royal Highness at Clarence House.
Mellah failed her initial race riding test ahead of her jockey debut, which left her starting place status in the Magnolia Cup charity race questionable, until she regained confidence and passed her second test, confirming her race-ready.
Mellah, now studying Mechanical Engineering at Brighton University following her A-Levels this summer, said: “Learning to ride, being given the opportunity to ride in a race, winning the race – and having a documentary made all about all of it has just been the most incredible experience from start to finish. If I can inspire just one other person to follow their dreams, even if the odds are stacked against them, that would be amazing.”
Oli Bell, the producer of Riding a Dream and an ITV Racing presenter, said: “I hope that people watching Riding a Dream will see what Khadijah’s achieved and feel inspired. It’s a wonderful story because you see someone who never would have expected to ride in a race, let alone win a race and you can see her blossom.
Hopefully, it will show that whoever you are, whatever your background, you can achieve your dreams. There is no doubt that what Khadijah achieved was a significant moment, not just in racing but in the wider sporting world. I hope it will encourage more people to get involved in the sport and for racing itself to broaden its appeal.”
The film has been jointly funded by Great British Racing, the sport’s promotional body, along with Goodwood Racecourse and The Racing Foundation, as official partners.
(Riding a Dream is on ITV at 11.45 am on Saturday 2nd November. www.greatbritishracing.com/ridingadream)News Now - Sport News