‘Collective retaliation against badness’ – delight as Vokes’ fund passes target
The generosity of spirit within racing is once again in evidence as the fundraising effort set up to help support Jan and Brian Vokes has already passed its target total of £5,000, just two days after the breeders’ of fairytale Welsh Grand National hero Dream Alliance had their barn burned down by arsonists, resulting in the death of a two-year-old and serious injury to his dam.
The JustGiving page was set up by syndicate member Howard Davies on behalf of the Vokes, who are based at Cefn Fforset in South Wales and who raised Dream Alliance on their allotment patch.
The blaze cost the life of Impossible Dream, who was due to go to Philip Hobbs – trainer of Dream Alliance for the 23-strong syndicate set up by Davies – while her dam Juwireya suffered extensive burn injuries and will no longer be able to be covered.
Davies said on the JustGiving page on Tuesday: “It’s been unbelievable. The tsunami of kindness has been unrelenting. We can’t believe how a local incident could have such wide-reaching effect – literally global! It’s like a collective retaliation of decency against badness and there’s clearly only one winner.”
Juwiyera was sent to Hobbs as a nine-year-old having already produced Impossible Dream, and won a mares’ handicap hurdle at Stratford in August 2016.
“She only won a small race, but she was a nice mare with a nice attitude who was placed several times before she won,” said Hobbs, who on Tuesday donated £500 to the fund which will help rehabilitate Juwireya and rebuild the Vokes’ stables.
“The day Juwireya won at Stratford was a great day. She was only at an ordinary level but we were delighted to be able to win a race with her.
“The mare had bred the foal before she won that race and the plan was to breed from her again, which sadly now won’t happen."
Dream Alliance came back from a life-threatening tendon injury to win the Welsh National for his syndicate members, who were all drawn from the locality in Wales and who began the adventure by contributing £10 a week each for his training fees and upkeep.
The story was made into Dark Horse, a documentary film which went on to win acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival.
“It is really sad because Jan Vokes works really hard with her horses and we had such a great time with Dream Alliance,” said Hobbs.
“It was phenomenal really. To go and win the Welsh Grand National with a horse bred in Wales by Jan and then to have the story of the people who helped her and paid for the training fees. The horse was badly injured and so to come back and win that race, it was just amazing."
You can donate to the fund to help Juwiraya and to rebuild the Vokes' barn by clicking here
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