Film review: Dark Horse (2016)

This documentary is delightful even if you, like me, are not a horse enthusiast or know anything about horse racing. It tells the story of a group of people in a small Welsh coal mining town. The mines, like so many others, had closed and the town struggled economically. A woman who had a job cleaning a department store and also worked as a part-time barmaid had the bizarre idea of starting a small syndicate to buy a race horse and she managed to find 30 people willing to contribute £10 per week. With part of the money that was raised they bought a mare that turned out to be a rotten competitor. They bred that mare with a thoroughbred and named the foal Dream Alliance.

The British seem to have a passion for betting on all manner of events including horse racing. The film is the story of how, with this horse, this group of working class people entered the world of thoroughbred racing, the domain of the snooty wealthy and the aristocratic. It is a story of horse racing but more so about how a town found a unity of purpose around a horse and how it became a member of a large family.

It is a heartwarming story. Here’s the trailer.


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