Boyd Exell wins at ?s-Hertogenbosch
28th March 2004

Australia?s Boyd Exell has won the FEI World Cup competition in ?s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands. The biggest surprise however, came from home driver IJsbrand Chardon. The triple World Champion was determined to finish his last World Cup competition of this season in the top three - and so he did. Germany?s Christoph Sandmann knocked down three cones in the second round, which made him end in third place.

British-based Australian driver Boyd Exell, winner of the FEI World Cup in ?s-Hertogenbosch in 2003, drove Fred Pendlebury?s Cobs deliberately smooth and fast through the first round. The best three drivers from the first round qualified for the drive-off.

"We planned to drive safely in order to qualify for the drive-off and I was very happy that my plan worked, despite one knock-down," explained Exell. The Buckingham-based driver beat his first-round time by five seconds and was very pleased with his result: "The advantage of the Cob team is that it is a working outdoor team that performs well indoors. What we lose on the straight line, we win in the turns."? Exell decided to shorten the pole of his carriage, which resulted in less penalty seconds than in the competitions he drove before.

IJsbrand Chardon was well on his way to win his last indoor competition, but a miscommunication between him and his horses cost him the first place.

"I was in the winning mood all the time. After I came last in the warm up competition, I just wanted to go for it today. I drove the first round to win, and I did." In the drive-off, his horses hesitated a little by the new isle-shaped bridge, designed by World Cup course designer Johan Jacobs from the Netherlands. "I felt that I had lost precious seconds so I decided to take a shortcut towards the finish. My horses misunderstood and we hit one of the obstacles, which cost me five penalty seconds and my victory." Chardon was nevertheless very happy that he was able to finish his World Cup season with a second place in the only World Cup event in his home country.

Wild card driver Mark Weusthof was a little disappointed with his fourth place. "My horses went well and I drove fast enough, but I just hit too many knock-downs" explained the 31-year old driver. "When you drive at this level, such mistakes cost you a lot. My goal was to end in the top three. As a wild card driver, I wanted to prove to the organizers that I was worth the invitation."

Hungarian driver Jozsef Dobrovitz, also driving his last competition in ?s-Hertogenbosch, had 15 penalty seconds added to his name and came fifth. Germany?s Rainer Duen hit one of the obstacle elements which cost him time and penalty seconds and ended in sixth place.

The drivers were very pleased with the course, designed by Johan Jacobs. Chardon explained: "The course consisted of long and short lines, which was good for the competitors and the crowd to follow. The new bridge offers a lot of new possibilities in the World Cup course design."

Christoph Sandmann and Rainer Duen will start in the last FEI World Cup competition in G?eborg, Sweden, from 8-11 April 2004. They will have to compete against their fellow countryman Michael Freund, who has received a wild card, as well as the second wild card driver Fredrik Persson, Tomas Eriksson, Werner Ulrich and Jozsef Bozsik.

In the World Cup points table, Germany's Michael Freund stands unbeaten and unbeatable, with four wins out of four - a total of 40 points. Boyd Exell is in second place with 27 points, having also driven four events. Christoph Sandman needs a win at G?eborg to knock Exell off the second place.

CLICK HERE for the full results and points standing in the 2003-4 World Cup series.

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