Sometimes, there is just nothing better than indulging in an inspiring true story. Sure, escaping into a world of fantasy, superheroes and foreign lands is a fabulous way to spend a few hours, but there is something supremely satisfying about regular people who have achieved extraordinary feats.
Enter: Dream Horse — a new film starring our very own Toni Collette as Janet Vokes, a small-town bar owner in Wales who galvanised her community to breed a racehorse. The story is full of heart with a healthy dose of wit and is, in short, the kind of feel-good film we need right now. Not to mention, Collette does an incredible job with her Welsh accent proving once more why she has been a fan favourite since bursting onto our screens in Muriel’s Wedding back in 1994.
If that is not enough to get you sufficiently excited to see this warm hug of a film (which was directed by BAFTA-winner Euros Lyn) then please allow us to tell you that the foal in the movie is just about the sweetest thing you can imagine. Who doesn’t love baby animals?! (Yes, that was a Muriel’s Wedding reference.)
Better still, eBay shoppers can access $11 tickets, by taking advantage of eBay Tuesdays simply by heading to eBay for the details. Follow the prompts to book your $11 tickets for Tuesday showings of Dream Horse and all the latest releases. eBay Plus members can also get $25 HOYTS LUX tickets in case you fancy a little pampering with your ponies.
If you’re still curious about the real-life events behind Dream Horse, then let us fill you in on the incredible…tail (sorry, we had to!).
Who Is Janet Vokes?
Janet Vokes was working in a bar in Cefn Fforest — a tiny community in Caerphilly County Borough, Wales — when she overheard a conversation that “changed her life.”
Vokes caught part of a conversation that a man named Howard Davies (played by Damian Lewis in the film) talking about how he had once owned a racehorse, thus seeding the idea in her mind that perhaps she could do the same.
Having had a decade of experience breeding pedigree whippets, Vokes decided to breed a racehorse of her own with her husband Brian (Owen Teale in the film.) Vokes appealed to her neighbours to contribute to the cost of raising a thoroughbred horse, asking them to pitch in £10 a week to make it happen. And thus, “Dream Alliance” came to be.
Was Dream Alliance Successful?
As you’ll glean from the trailer, things got off to a rocky start with the foal, which Vokes decided to name Dream Alliance, but with perseverance — and a good dose of Welsh wit — the steed went on to win the prestigious Welsh National in 2009.
Vokes announced in 2015 that she and her husband had welcomed a new foal, adorably named Rodney and that they felt he had just as much Derby potential as Dream Alliance (who goes by the nickname Dreamy) before him.
Where Is Dream Alliance Now?
You’ll be thrilled to know that Dreamy, who is now 19-years-old, is happily living his best life in Somerset with his new owner Clare Sandercock, who purchased him after he retired in 2012.
There is no word, yet, on if Dreamy has become a diva in the wake of becoming a celebrity.
Did Everyone Get Rich?
If you’re so inspired by the story of Dream Alliance that you are now considering going into horse breeding and racing yourself, we must warn you that it is not necessarily a lucrative exercise.
Even though Dreamy’s winnings over his career amounted to £138,646, the 23 syndicate members made only £1,430 each after vet bills, stabling and trainers’ fees. But hey, they have one heck of a story to tell and, as you’ll see in the film, the experience brought them together in a beautiful display of community and hope.
Okay, I’m Sold — How Do I Learn More After I’ve Seen the Film?
We know that you will love Dream Horse and will likely want to know even more about how this fascinating story came to be after watching the movie. The great news is: you’re in luck because Janet Vokes has written a book, also named Dream Horse, which tells her story in more depth.
“It has taken around a year to put the book together,” Vokes told the South Wales Argus. “It tells the story from my childhood, how I met my husband and then there was Dream.”
Dream Horse is now in cinemas. Watch the trailer below and to grab yourself an $11 ticket to this family-friendly film, head to eBay and follow the prompts to book those eBay Tuesdays tickets.