Coming to a cinema near you: the nags-to-riches tale of Dream Alliance

A scene from Dream Horse (starring Toni Collette as Jan Vokes). Photo: Bleecker Street Media

By Jon Lees

USA: Horse racing will be back on the silver screen this spring after the nags-to-riches tale of 2009 Welsh Grand National winner Dream Alliance was given a Hollywood makeover.

Hugely respected Australian actress Toni Colette, who has successfully played both American and English roles, now takes on a Welsh accent to portray Jan Vokes, the cleaner and waitress who decides to breed her own racehorse on a disused coal tip.

She persuades neighbours and pub customers in Cefn Fforest in the Gwent valley to pay weekly contributions into a fund which ultimately results in the birth of Dream Alliance.

Shortly after his entry into training for the 23-strong Alliance Partnership syndicate he registers the first of five victories which eventually leads to his fairytale triumph at Chepstow in Wales’s biggest horse race.

Dream Horse premiered last month at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. Photo: Travis Wise

Dream Horse is directed by BAFTA winner Euros Lyn, whose credits in Britain include TV dramas Last Tango In Halifax and Happy Valley and the cast includes Damian Lewis as Howard Davies, the pub customer who encourages Vokes to take up the challenge.

The film premiered last weekend at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in Utah and is expected to reach British cinemas in April or May.

The underdog story was first told in the documentary Dark Horse: The Story Of Dream Alliance in 2015, which won a World Cinema Documentary Audience Award.