THIS April sees the general UK release of a Warner Brothers movie inspired by the 2009 victory of Dream Alliance in the Coral Welsh Grand National.

Dream Horse, starring Damian Lewis and Toni Collette, is based on the rags to riches story of a syndicate of working people from the Welsh Valleys. They breed a racehorse from humble beginnings who then recovers from a serious racing injury to win the biggest horse race in Wales.

The film is good news on many levels.

First and foremost, it shows that owning a successful racehorse isn’t just a privilege for people with access to significant funds. It also depicts the fun and excitement that a winning racehorse can bring his or her owners.

For the horse racing industry, the movie provides excellent publicity and will hopefully encourage more people to experience a day at the races – particularly at Chepstow! It’s also great exposure for Wales and Monmouthshire.

Many of the film's scenes were shot at Chepstow in early 2019 and for yours truly it was a chance to make my debut as an ‘extra’. Whether my part (alongside former Dr Who Peter Davison) has actually made the final cut is yet to be seen – we shall see.

To tie in with the opening week for the movie, we will be welcoming Dream Alliance himself to our Easter Monday race meeting on April 13th. You will be able to meet the legend and have your photo taken with him. Family tickets (two adults and unlimited children are £35 in advance).

The film opens on Friday, 17th April and it has such a positive ‘feel good’ factor I’d strongly recommend you go and see it.

One Welsh jockey who isn’t having the best of luck at the moment is Sean Bowen, who has broken his collar bone and misses next week’s Cheltenham Festival. It’s frustrating for the Pembrokeshire-born jockey who was having a successful season and is currently on 54 winners.

Sean suffered the injury riding Just A Sting for Harry Fry at Kempton ten days ago. The horse made a bad mistake in the first mile of the race and gave his jockey no chance of staying on board. Looking back on it, he ruefully admitted, “I knew I'd done it straight away and as soon as I hit the floor, I knew it was gone.”

The weather continues to cause all sorts of problems for racecourses across the country and Chepstow has now lost two fixtures in the last ten days because of waterlogging, including the meeting scheduled for Monday of this week.

It’s very frustrating, but as I said last week, there are people who have suffered far worse fortunes because of the storms, so you just have to be philosophical about it. Our next meeting is Thursday, 19th March.

The biggest jump meeting of the year, the Cheltenham Festival, takes place next week and we’ll be shouting for Thyme Hill in Friday’s Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. The gelding won one of our feature races last year, the Unibet Persian War Novices’ Hurdle, so it would be fantastic to see the six year old continue his progress up the ranks. He will be ridden by our ambassador Richard Johnson who has returned to action in recent days after breaking his arm.