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Dream Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance By Janet Vokes

Release date: 08th June, 2021
Publisher: Pan

List Price: 20.00
Our Price: 17.60
You Save: 2.4 (11%)
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By late morning, traffic is usually stacked back to the old Severn Bridge as racegoers edge slowly uphill from the M48 towards Chepstow racecourse in time for the Welsh Grand National. Less than a mile from the motorway an army of stewards direct cars and coaches onto huge ?car parks? which double as grazing land for the rest of the year.

Welsh Grand National day attracts huge crowds, primarily because the race usually takes place between Christmas and New Year. We used to live very close to the racecourse and could amble up to the entrance gates ten minutes away, arriving in plenty of time to place a bet and find a decent position from which to watch the action.

The 2009 Welsh National was run in late December: twenty fences over three miles, five-and-a-half furlongs. Tom O?Brien?s mount, a 20/1 shot, hit the front three fences from home and despite a serious wobble at the last and a worrying drift to the inside rail on the agonisingly long run-in, still managed to reach the line in first place. It was a fairy-tale finish for an appropriately-named horse, Dream Alliance; the victory also resulted in a handsome return on your correspondent?s each-way wager.

Published in paperback later this week Dream Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance by owner and breeder Janet Vokes is an extraordinary, feel-good story, which happens to currently be screening in cinemas nationwide.

Vokes, a barmaid at a working men?s club in the tiny Welsh mining village of Cefn Fforest, had ambitions beyond serving drinks and collecting empties. Without any experience of breeding or training horses, she bought a mare for just ?350, paired it with a pedigree stallion and recruited twenty-three friends, each paying ?10 a week, to raise the resulting foal.

The foal was named Dream Alliance by the syndicate, a deliberate reflection of their willingness to form an alliance and dream that their horse could achieve great things. The horse?s beginning were humble: raised on an allotment, he soon overcame the odds and began winning a series of small-purse races until the paydays became gradually bigger. That was until Dream Alliance suffered a significant injury; other horses may have been put down, but the syndicate insisted that he undergo what was experimental surgery which enabled him to make a full recovery.

The rest, as they say, is history, a story of how sport can act as a platform to help people fulfil their dreams. Neither Vokes nor Dream Alliance were given a chance, but a combination of hard work, dedication, determination and luck helped them to deliver. And then some. Even if you didn?t have any money on Dream Alliance to win the 2009 Welsh National, this is still an uplifting read.

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