Work set to start on Cefn Fforest champion horse
10:01am Friday 18th October 2013 in News
Filming on a major documentary telling the inspirational story of champion horse Dream Alliance will take place at Chepstow Racecourse this winter.
Dream Alliance was born in Cefn Fforest in 2001 after his owner Jan Vokes, a barmaid who also kept pigeons and whippets, bought a £350 mare.
And nine people who met in a local working men’s club – including a plasterer, a garage owner, a taxi driver and an accountant - agreed to pay £10 a week as part of a syndicate to pay for his upkeep.
Contrary to expectations, he ran well at several races.
Then in a race at Aintree, disaster struck. A near-fatal fall severed one of his tendons and vets predicted that he would never race again.
But pioneering £20,000 stem cell surgery was paid for by the syndicate and he comfortably won the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow as a 20-1 outsider in 2009.
Judith Dawson, who is producing the film, said: “I regard it as a fairytale rather than a film about racing.”
And she said that on a recent trip to Chepstow, Dream Alliance was still enjoying the adulation he got from crowds in his racing heyday: “He likes the attention; he liked being there. It’s like being an actor who doesn’t need to do any acting.”
“Everyone who has a horse a has a dream. You hope that your horse will be that one in a million” .
The film will be completed next summer for release at independent cinemas. It will be shown on TV later.
It is being made by Darlow Smithson and World’s End Pictures and is funded by the British Film Institute. Louise Osmond, who has previously worked on Deep Water and Richard III: King of the Car Park, is the film's writer and director.
Phil Bell, Executive Director at Chepstow Racecourse said: “It’s an unbelievable story and the fact that this horse came from such an unassuming background is incredible.
“When the team got in touch with us and said they wanted to film at Chepstow the team here were thrilled, particularly as a number of staff here remember the day that Dream Alliance won the Welsh National."
Dream Alliance is now 12-years-old. He retired last year and now lives in stables in Taunton.
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