I don’t EVER recall such a special Welsh cob day here at the Royal Welsh. If nothing else, my nerves were in tatters! I have no nails left and a very sore throat!
We began the day with Jonathan Batt and Abergavenny Morning Queen. I know how much he wanted her to turn on the style today. And just watching him preen and prune her in the stable made me anxious – the ambition, the desire and the hunger shone in his face. For him, this was one of the biggest days of his career as a cob breeder.
Having seen Jonathan and the mare take the reserve for the George Prince of Wales Cup in 2007, I know just how magnificent she can look. But that was nothing in comparison with today. She lit up the main ring and had the Grandstand crowds on their feet.
For the Batt family, the tension was obvious to see. We watched with them as their homebred mare won her class and went on to take the female championship. But the question was, could she go all the way?
At half past three this afternoon, the crowds around the main ring were ten deep. Each person with their eyes fixed on the action unfolding before them. I could barely look as the judge, Rob Manchip, paced his way up and down the cob champions of the day. This is as big as it gets. For cob breeders, this is the climax of the year.
But for Jonathan, it was a dream come true. Morning Queen took the most prestigious prize in cob history and she’ll now be remembered among the legends who have won the cup before her. For Jonathan, it was the best day of his life.
To watch Jonathan’s journey, tune into THE SHOW, Thursday night, 10:35 pm, ITV1 WALES.