Posts Tagged ‘Welsh Grand National’

dark“DARK HORSE”  My rating : B  

85 minutes | MPAA rating: PG

Grand ambition, small-town eccentricity, class snobbism and gorgeous horseflesh collide happily in “Dark Horse,” a documentary guaranteed to charm every animal lover or anyone who ever cheered for the little guy.

Louise Osmond’s film follows the life and career of Dream Alliance, a wildly personable horse who rose from the humblest of origins to win the 2009 Welsh Grand National.

Of course, it’s more than just the story of an equine champion.  “Dark Horse” is also the story of a ragtag bunch of local folk who got it into their unsophisticated heads that they could pool their modest resources to break into a sport dominated by royalty and nobility.

It all began when Janet Vokes, a barmaid in an economically strapped Welsh mining town, overhead a pub patron talking about his frustrating and financially draining spell as part owner of a Thoroughbred race horse.  Janet — a hard-working gal who would often juggle several jobs — decided there was no reason why she shouldn’t realize her dream of owning a racehorse.

No reason except lack of money, access to horses and the knowhow to breed and train the noble creatures.

Apparently, she’s a hell of a saleswoman. She got her dubious husband Brian — round, bearded, toothless — to get on board and in short order had convinced a syndicate of townspeople to cough up 10 pounds a week each toward the project.

They found a Thoroughbred mare idling away in a nearby pasture, bought her for a fraction of the asking price, had her bred with a promising stud and…and the result was a foal they named Dream Alliance in honor of their little syndicate.  They found a professional trainer willing to take on their animal and damned if Dream Alliance didn’t start winning races.

Of course, in doing so the horse pretty much upended the hoity toity world of racing. A bunch of no-nothings from a crumbling mining burg produce a champion?  Unheard of.

Yet Alliance — a horse with a personality as strong as that of the legendary Seabiscuit — became a sensation. (more…)

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