A racehorse billed as a future superstar has been killed and a mare seriously injured in a catastrophic yard fire.
Brian and Janet Vokes, who bred Welsh Grand National winner Dream Alliance, discovered their stables in Cefn Fforest, Caerphilly county, were alight on Sunday morning (26 November).
Their two-year-old gelding Impossible Dream (“Rodney”) had died (pictured below) and his nine-year-old mother Juwireya (pictured top) had managed to break free from her stable but was seriously burnt.
The Vokes believe the fire was started deliberately.
“We’re heartbroken beyond words,” Janet told H&H.
“Rodders had only been back in his stable for three weeks — he’d been away all summer on grass.
“He was wonderful and such a gentleman. To look at he was a dead ringer of Dream Alliance.”
Juwireya suffered burns all over her body and one of her eyes was swollen. She is under veterinary care.
“It was the second time she’s escaped death,” said Janet.
“A few months ago she fractured her cannon bone racing but had it plated and recovered.
“She’s responding to treatment but it’s going to be a long time.
“We may never be able to have a foal out of her again – we hoped to have one more before we retire.”
Click here to view her injuries — warning graphic image
Janet said she saw no reason why they would be targeted.
“It’s taken us 20 years to get to this point,” she said. “We’ve never fallen out with anybody, we’ve always allowed children to visit the stables and when they’re racing we try to get people in the village tickets.
“Me and my husband don’t go out and we don’t boast about the horses.
“There are a lot more kind people out there but you just need one person. You can’t imagine such evil walks among you.
“I work seven days a week to keep the horses and now someone has come along and wiped it all away.
“I was so upset at the beginning and now I’m angry. I know I shouldn’t be, I’m not that sort of person.”
Rodney was recently backed by Martin Jones.
“He said he was one of the best quality horses he had had in for quite a while,” said Janet.
“He phoned me after he heard about the fire and said people don’t realise that they have just killed a rising star.”
A JustGiving page has been set up to help the Vokes pay Juwireya’s vet bill.
“If I needed to remorgage the house I would,” added Janet.
“There are some wonderful people out there – we needed a certain cream for her burns that was out of production. Someone got in touch on Facebook and has offered us theirs.”
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South Wales Fire and Rescue Service’s (SWFRS) station manager Steve Logan, said SWFRS is investigating.
“There is no electricity or accidental ignition points at the scene, but we are working with Gwent Police and their crime scene investigation team to confirm the cause,” he told H&H.
“We ask that if local residents saw or heard anything, that they contact the police or Crimestoppers.”
Mr Logan added that the crew was delayed attending the fire due to double parking in nearby street. He urged the public to avoid this “as it could mean the difference between life and death”.
A Gwent Police spokesman added that anyone with any information regarding the fire should call the force on 101 quoting log number 135 26/11/17 or Crimestopppers on 0800555111.
Dream Alliance’s victory was turned into a film, Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance.
Jan had no experience of racing before breeding him but formed a syndicate at the local working men’s club, where she worked as a barmaid.