A movie about a racehorse from a Cefn Fforest allotment who won the 2009 Welsh Grand National has finally hit cinemas.
Dream Horse came out on Friday, June 4 – after being delayed by more than a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The film stars Australian actress Toni Collette as Jan Vokes – a barmaid at a workingmen’s club who brings together a group of people to breed the champion horse.
Meanwhile, Homeland actor Damian Lewis takes on the role of accountant Howard Davies.
The movie, which was premiered at Blackwood’s Maxime Cinema on May 23, also stars Gavin and Stacey‘s Joanna Page, as well as Game of Thrones and Stella actor Owen Teale – who plays Jan’s husband Brian.
Dream Horse is based on the real life story of racehorse Dream Alliance.
After Jan met Howard in the Top Club in Cefn Fforest, the dream of forming a syndicate to raise the horse began.
Dream Alliance was born in 2001, and defied all odds to win the Welsh Grand National eight years later.
Jan spoke to Caerphilly Observer about the moment her racehorse triumphed in that iconic race.
“It was a surreal moment,” she said.
“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I never used to like to watch him run – I was more afraid he’d come last.
“When he ran his first race, I was more afraid that he would come last or wouldn’t even start the race. So I would never watch him race.
“But that day I could hear them talking about him and I was saying ‘where is he? where is he?’.
“I won’t tell you what my husband said – it wouldn’t be allowed to put in print. But I had to start watching then and when he won it was like as if, even though all this chaos was going on around you, you were just looking and thinking, did that just happen? It was surreal.”
But despite those successes and having now seeing her life portrayed on the big screen, Jan said her life hasn’t really changed.
“I always used to think, I know this might sound daft, but you’re born, you live your life and you die and nobody even knows you’re here other than your children. Nobody knows you’ve lived.
“I wanted to do something that would go down in history – so I achieved that dream didn’t I?”
Jan now has another foal, called Phoenix Dream – and she has big hopes of repeating past glories.
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“If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody else is going to believe. She’s a real cracker – she looks quality.
“Her mother is really, really well bred, and the stallion that we used won the German Derby and he’s really well bred, so there is no reason why she shouldn’t follow in Dream’s footsteps.”
Meanwhile, Dream Alliance is enjoying his retirement in Somerset.
Jan said: “He’s with a young girl that looks after him with Philip Hobbs (Dream Alliance’s trainer). She asked if she could have him there.
“If she hadn’t asked to have him, then he would have come home, we wouldn’t have let him go anywhere else -there was no question of that.
“But he’s got a lovely room and he’s well looked after. If any of the syndicate want to go and visit him they can.
“I can’t go – I get too upset. B we know he’s enjoying his retirement. So we’re happy with that.”
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