‘I thought I was just making up the numbers’: home-bred mare tops Welsh cobs at HOYS

  • Home-bred mare Ringside Top Dollar left her connections flabbergasted when she was pulled out first from a top-class line up to land the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) Welsh D championship.

    The eight-year-old mare by Llanarth Prince Of Wales out of Glanvyrnwy Rosalie is owned and ridden by Alex Williams of the Ringside Stud.

    “I’m absolutely gobsmacked,” said an ecstatic Alex. “I wasn’t even smiling because I was convinced I wasn’t going to get anywhere. I’ve never been in front of either judge before and I thought I was just making up the numbers. I’ve been on holiday twice this month and my sister, Kate, has been doing her for me, so I really had no expectations, especially as this was only her fourth show this season.”

    Top Dollar was bred at the family stud, and despite being eight years old, has relatively little ring experience.

    “She did a novice season in 2019 and then we had covid, so it was her first open season last year and she managed to qualify for HOYS but wasn’t placed,” explained Alex. “This year, we did the NPS Spring Festival where she qualified for HOYS, then she was champion at Royal Welsh, then we went to NPS and was open champion, and today she takes this class. I still can’t believe what an amazing season we’ve had.”

    Alex believes that having an extra year to mature has been the making of the mare.

    “Something clicked overnight when she turned eight, and she’s just bloomed,” she said. “She was a bit leggy and scrawny last year – they say that cobs don’t hit their peak until they’re eight, and that’s certainly run true for her. She’s more of a mare now, rather than a filly.”

    At home, Top Dollar is ‘quiet and safe’.

    “She is so sensible,” said Alex. “My non-horsey boyfriend does everything with her from catching her from the field to changing her rugs because she is so kind.”

    The plan was to put the mare in foal, but after their win, Alex is now rethinking her options.

    “I wasn’t expecting this at all, and it seems a shame to retire her as a broodmare as she is only eight and I’ve got nothing to replace her, so I will need to have another think about that,” mused Alex.

    Llandderfel Prince Richard and Danni Thexton claimed the reserve spot, while Kaybrook Midnight Comet and Ellena Thomas were third.

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