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Fractional Ownership Featured In Film

Published: May 6, 2021 10:05 am ET

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After its planned 2020 theatric release was put on hold, a full-length feature movie — based on the true story of a fractional ownership group and the horse they raced — is finally set to play before audiences across North America later this month.

Dream Horse, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2020, is slated to appear in theatres across the United States and Canada beginning May 21, followed by June releases in the British Isles and Australia.

Five years before Dream Horse was initially slated to debut, the story of the aptly-named Dream Alliance — whose biggest claim to fame on the turf was a hard-earned victory in the 2009 renewal of the Grade 3 Coral Welsh National — was the focus of a documentary entitled Dark Horse, written and directed by Louise Osmond and featuring Jan Vokes, a Welsh bartender who founded The Alliance Partnership, a blue-collar syndicate comprised of roughly two dozen of her friends and neighbours who took on the aristocracy of British horse racing and campaigned their unlikely star in some of the most prestigious steeplechase races in the United Kingdom.

Described as a "working-class horse" in the 2015 documentary, Dream Alliance's story — and that of the working-class syndicate who campaigned him for the paltry sum of £10 per week per member — proved so captivating that New York-based Bleecker Street Media produced Dream Horse, a worthy dramatization featuring Australian actress Toni Collette portraying the role of Vokes and English actor Damian Lewis as racing manager Howard Davies.

The film, which Variety lauded as a "well-cast, artfully handled effort" and "one of the strongest commercial prospects" out of the Sundance festival, brings a stirring tale fractional racehorse ownership to theatres worldwide as much of the world seeks a pleasant diversion — much like Vokes and her partners did over a decade ago.

“I just fell in love with it. Until very recently, I couldn’t talk about it without crying because I found it so moving how this horse brought an entire community together,” Collette said in an interview. “I’m a sucker for an underdog story and it’s so inspirational and so empowering to see this woman, who in her life who is a little lost, and she focuses on this horse and puts everything into it, is completely determined and changes not only her life but the entire community. It’s beautiful.”

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