Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance

(UK, 2014)

One of the better feel-good documentaries. A barmaid in a working-class town in Wales buys a broken-down racehorse for £350. She breeds him and the result is a horse called Dream Alliance. They name him that because there is a group of working-class investors who each contribute £10 a month, a considerable sum for most of them. There is no group of people snobbier than the British upper-class thoroughbred horsey set, and of course no one believes this nag will get over the first fence. (Steeplechase racing is much more popular in the UK than it is here.) But he turns out to be pretty damn good, and wins the 2009 Welsh National.

Not all is champagne and roses, though. He enters the biggest race in Britain, the Grand National, but doesn’t finish, pulling up lame. It turns out he has a lung condition. He competed in a few more races, didn’t win any of them. Far as I know he’s still alive, out to pasture. The nice kicker is that he earned £138,646, and each of the 23 syndicate members turned a profit of £1430! So take that, horse snobs!