A teenager who learnt to ride at Ebony Horse Club in Brixton has graduated from the British Racing School in Newmarket.

Jesse, 16, who attended Harris Boys’ Academy East Dulwich first got into racing when he attended the Riding A Dream Academy in August 2021. Jesse was one of 10 students who attended the academy’s first ever Residential Week, which is designed to support young people aged 14-18 from diverse communities, inner cities and urban equestrian centres into British horse racing.

Jesse has since spent the last 12 weeks at the British Racing School on their Foundation Course which prepares young people for work as stable staff, working with and riding racehorses each day. He becomes the third Riding A Dream Academy student to graduate from the Foundation Course and head into work in the racing industry.

“I have absolutely loved my time at the British Racing School and am sad to be leaving,” he said. “When I first came on the Riding A Dream Residential Week in 2021 I was riding pony Flossie and just starting out riding in jockey pose. Now I am riding racehorses up the straight gallop and heading into a racing yard to work. I can’t believe how much I’ve improved – I never thought I’d improve so much in such a short period of time.

“When I am on the straight gallop, I’ve had no feeling like it – just the adrenaline going through you makes you so happy and it makes me smile so much.

“My hopes for the future are to go onto an apprenticeship as a work rider before coming back to the British Racing School for my end point assessment and then going for my jockey license to become a flat jockey.”

Khadijah Mellah, co-founder of the Academy which was set up after she became the first British Muslim woman to win a UK horserace celebrated Jesse’s achievement.

“We are all so proud of Jesse and what he has achieved,” she said. “He has made such massive progress and he has such a lovely way with the racehorses, they all seem to relax for him, which is no mean feat. We want to wish him all the best in his journey to becoming a jockey – we will all be cheering him on!”

The Academy is currently accepting applications from 14-18 year olds for its next Residential Week, which takes place at the British Racing School from 29 May – 2 June and is free to attend. Applications are also open for the third year of the Khadijah Mellah Scholarship. Visit www.ridingadreamacademy.com to apply by 20 March.

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