A film telling the true story of the extraordinary Dream Alliance, the Welsh National winner, is now showing in cinemas.

Dream Alliance is the extraordinary racehorse, who grew up on an allotment and went on to win the Welsh National. A film telling the true story of how a barmaid in a former Welsh mining village bred the champion racehorse will be released on 17 April 2015. The real story of the Philip Hobbs trained Dream Alliance is a heartening tale of one woman’s instinct, a local syndicate and barrow loads of heart. To understand just what it takes to best those National Hunt fences read about the amateur jockeys who race in the Fox Hunter’s Chase.


Dark Horse: The Incredible Story of Dream Alliance is an account of how Jan Vokes bred a racehorse in 2000 despite knowing nothing about racing. Mrs Vokes had bred pigeons and whippets and saw no reason not to breed a racehorse, so persuaded 23 friends from the village to part with £10 a week to form a syndicate. A thoroughbred mare considered one of the slowest in Wales was bought for £300 and put with an aging stallion.

The resulting foal, raised on the Vokes slagheap allotment, grew into an unlikely champion, overcoming injury to win the Welsh Grand National in 2009. The horse is now enjoying his retirement but Mrs Vokes has set her sights on the Cheltenham Gold Cup. She’s acquired another mare, expected to foal this month.

The film’s director, Louise Osmond, got the idea for Dark Horse after a chance visit to the races on Boxing Day, 2012. “It was a freezing day, the place was packed with punters and food stalls and bookies and in the middle of this travelling carnival were these incredible-looking horses: sleek, muscled, wired-looking,” she recalls. She spent days looking for a story and when she came across the tale of Dream Alliance she knew “within seconds” she had it. For cinemas showing Dark Horse, visit www.picturehouses.co.uk.