November 23, 2015 - The racehorse Dream Alliance, who this year starred in a film about his life, will be joining in the New Year’s Day celebrations at Exeter Racecourse when the crowds will be gathering on Haldon Hill to celebrate a great Devon tradition.
Exeter is spearheading an initiative to encourage racegoers to understand more about the lives of racehorses, both during and after their careers, and at each meeting this season, a horse has been in the stable for people to meet.
Movie star Dream Alliance will be making a guest appearance in the South West Shelters Retired Racehorse box on New Year’s Day and his presence looks set to stir hearts and imaginations.
General manager Daniel Thompson said: “When we heard that Dream Alliance was coming on New Year’s Day we were absolutely over the moon. He really is a living legend and we are thrilled that he will be here.
“At Exeter we all love horses and our initiative is very much about encouraging people to actually engage with them, and care about them during and after their careers. There are some super initiatives within racing that help ensure retired racehorses go on and enjoy their lives once their careers are over.
“New Year’s Day on Haldon Hill is a wonderful meeting where good will and camaraderie are the order of the day It’s a great way to celebrate the start of a new year.”
Dream was the subject of a documentary this year, Dark Horse, which told the story of how he went from living on an allotment in Caerphilly to winning £137,000 in prize money.
Dream’s 30-race career brought him to Exeter three times when he won on his chasing debut in November 2006, finished second on his next outing in six weeks later and then unseated in February 2008.
In April 2008, he ran in a handicap hurdle before the Grand National.
He pulled up with am injury so severe it was thought he might have to be put down.
But he was taken to an equine hospital to begin a long period of rehabilitation and by July 2009, he was back on good form. He was entered in the Welsh National on December 28 and like all good fairy tales, he won at 20-1.
Dream has now retired and lives with Taunton-based Claire Sandercott who cared for the gelding during his racing career.
“I couldn’t believe it when I was asked if I wanted him. When he retired I thought I’d never see him again. He’s on a livery yard where he’s a huge favourite. Everyone loves him. He is such a special and lovely horse and is now a very happy hacker. I can’t wait to bring him to Exeter. He will absolutely love being the centre of attention,” said Claire.
Exeter will be celebrating the new year with a six race card and this year, early birds can enjoy a 25 per cent discount off the price of Grandstand and Paddock tickets if they book by Christmas Eve (quote NYD2016) and with children aged 17 and under gaining free entry, it’s one of the county’s top destinations to continue the New Year celebrations.
Exeter is widely regarded as a track for future champions, with many top horses racing at the track during their novice careers. January 1 will be no exception and Haldon Hill looks set to once again play its part in traditional New Year’s Day celebrations.