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FEI World Cup in Stockholm
2 December 2006

After his somewhat disappointing fifth place in the FEI World Cup? Driving competition in Stuttgart two weeks ago, Dutch driver Koos de Ronde fought his way back by winning the third leg of the 2006/2007 FEI World Cup? Driving series at the Stockholm International Horse Show.

Hungarian driver Jozsef Dobrovitz came second and proved that his team of Lipizzaner horses are getting better every show. Belgian driver Gert Schrijvers, competing with his team of beautiful black Arab/Friesians, finished in third place in Stockholm's Globe Arena.

Over 10,000 enthusiastic spectators closely followed the performances of the six drivers in the technical but driveable course, put up by Swedish course designer Dan Henriksson. The crowd cheered loudly for every competitor and the music and fireworks that were set off as the drivers crossed the bridge, contributed to a unique atmosphere.

Koos de Ronde decided to continue training the horses he used in Stuttgart (two piebalds, one grey and one brown gelding, all borrowed from members of his carriage driving family) at home and his efforts were clearly rewarded in Stockholm: ?They now have the routine they missed in Stuttgart. I knew I had to take very short routes in the obstacles, otherwise I would not have a chance to win. My horses just flew through the course this time.? De Ronde made a small mistake in one of the multiple obstacles, but his time was too fast to prevent him from winning.

Home driver Tomas Eriksson was last to go but he went too fast and missed a gate, which cost him precious seconds and a knock down. ?My horses went really well, I am very pleased with them. I am not pleased with myself though. I was simply too slow,? admits the winner of the first competition in Hannover, who dropped to fifth place.

Jozsef Dobrovitz tried a new horse in the warm up competition but was not pleased with his result (sixth place). In order to get his horses together, the multiple Hungarian Champion got up early in the  morning to train his team in the nice and quiet warm-up arena. ?There is not much space to warm the horses up before the competition and I really needed to train them well, so I drove for one hour at 6 in the morning,? explains Dobrovitz. ?In the evening I just warmed them up a little bit and they felt good. I knew I had nothing to lose, so my only goal was to put pressure on the other competitors.? And that worked. Dobrovitz drove a fast clear round and the other competitors all had one ball down. With one more show to go for him, Dobrovitz has taken the lead in the standings, ahead of wild card drivers Christoph Sandmann and Michael Freund.

Belgium?s Gert Schrijvers was very pleased with his third place: ?My horses were impressed by the crowd yesterday and they hesitated a little bit, but today they went really well. I was able to gallop through the course and unfortunately I just hit one ball because of the speed and this cost me the second place. But I am making progress: Fourth in Stuttgart, third in Stockholm, so I go for second place in Mechelen and first place in Amsterdam!? joked the driver.

Swedish wild-card driver Fredrik Persson was not able to equal last year?s result when he surprisingly won the World Cup competition in Stockholm. ?One of my leaders waited too long in the obstacles and knocked a ball down. It was only his second indoor competition so I don?t blame him.?

Switzerland?s Daniel W?gler started off well in the warm up competition where he came third, but he was less fortunate on the day of the competition, when the young horse in his team put his tongue over the bit. W?gler was not able to make the turns properly and came sixth in his first World Cup competition of this season. The professional carriage driver was nevertheless very pleased and is not going to make any changes to his team for his next performance in Geneva next weekend.

Results CAI-W Stockholm:
1. Koos de Ronde (Ned) 100.25 (5)
2. Jozsef Dobrovitz (Hun) 102.84 (0)
3. Gert Schrijvers (Bel) 106.51 (5)
4. Fredrik Persson (Swe) 108.37 (5)
5. Tomas Eriksson (Swe) 112.75 (5)
6. Dani? W?gler (Sui) 115.25 (5)

Classification after 3 of 7 events:
1. Jozsef Dobrovitz (Hun) 15
2. Christoph Sandmann (Ger) 14
3. Michael Freund (Ger) 12
3. Tomas Eriksson (Swe) 12
3. Koos de Ronde (Ned) 12
6. Gert Schrijvers (Bel) 8
7. IJsbrand Chardon (Ned) 5
8. Fredrik Persson (Swe) 3
9. Laszlo Juhasz (Hun) 2
9. Atilla Bardos (Hun) 2
11. Dani? W?gler 1


CLICK HERE for the full results, together with the list of drivers, venues and points tables.

The next FEI World Cup? Driving event takes place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 8 to 10 December.  Website: www.csi-geneve.ch

Created in 2001, the Driving World Cup has provided an innovative new style of competition for indoor events, with courses combining marathon and cone driving obstacles. The 2005/2006 season of the World Cup includes eight competitions: Hanover (GER), Stuttgart (GER), Stockholm (SWE), Geneva (SUI), Mechelen (BEL), Leipzig (GER) and Amsterdam (NED). The top 5 drivers after the first 7 events will qualify for the final at G?eborg (SWE).

The full rules of the FEI World Cup for the 2005/6 season are available - CLICK HERE

More information can also be found on the official FEI World Cup Driving website at www.worldcupdriving.com

Information supplied by the FEI      Photo by Sara Holmberg