'Down Under' on top in Aachen
6 July 2009
Boyd Exell from Australia has won the sixth FEI World Cup? Qualifier at the prestigious CAIO in Aachen, Germany.
Exell took the lead in the dressage and did not give his first place away throughout the competition. Four times World Champion IJsbrand Chardon from the Netherlands came second, ahead of Germany?s Christoph Sandmann. Exell is leading the World Cup? Qualifier standings, followed by Chardon and his compatriot Koos de Ronde.
24 four-in-hand drivers from 10 nations competed. The field included 4 (former) World Champions: IJsbrand Chardon (NED), Tomas Eriksson (SWE), Werner Ulrich (SUI), Zolt? L?ar (HUN). The oldest competitor was Felix Affrini (SUI), age 50, the youngest, Michael Brauchle (GER), age 19.
It was the first time since Royal Windsor that Exell and Chardon met again in the driving arena, where healthy rivalry ruled during the whole competition. Both competitors decided not to start in the non-compulsory first dressage test on Wednesday to spare their horses. This resulted in two beautiful tests on Thursday, which were awarded with high scores by the international judges. Exell drove his team of black geldings owned by his Hungarian sponsor Tamas Vincze and was awarded with first place and 37.63 penalty points by four of the five international judges.
Exell was the sixth driver to start in the sunny arena at Aachen and he kept his lead throughout the day. The only driver who came close to Exell was four times World Champion IJsbrand Chardon from the Netherlands. Chardon could not equal Exell?s result and left the arena with a score of 40.32 penalty points. It was a good day for the Dutch as Theo Timmerman drove his young team to the third place, ahead of Koos de Ronde who is competing with former horses of Boyd Exell.
Marathon specialist Tomas Eriksson from Sweden won the marathon in Aachen. The winner of the marathon at the World Championships in Beesd 2008 set the fastest times in four of the eight challenging obstacles, built by international course designer Dr. Wolfgang Asendorf from Germany. Individual driver for Germany in Aachen Ludwig Weinmayr came second, ahead of Exell and Chardon. The marathon in Aachen took place under very hot circumstances as the sun raised the temperature up to 30 degrees in the afternoon. After the eventers had finished their course, the Aachener Soers welcomed the 24 four-in-hand drivers. 32,000 spectators witnessed the exciting driving sport in Aachen.
New horses for Sandmann
Exell kept his lead in the standings after the marathon and was one ball ahead of Chardon before the obstacle driving competition. Eriksson had climbed considerably from the 14th tot the 4th place in the standings after the marathon, while Christoph Sandmann moved up to the third place. Sandmann has recently bought four KWPN horses of British four-in-hand driver Peter Bennett and competed with two of them in Aachen.
Cool in the cones
As Exell was in the lead with a little more than one ball (3 penalty points) difference to IJsbrand Chardon, it was Chardon?s goal to stay clear in the obstacle driving competition to put the pressure on Exell. But the four times World Champion did the opposite and took the pressure off Exell?s shoulders by knocking a ball down. Exell did what he had to do and proofed to be a true winner by finishing the cones course with a clear round in time. It is the second time after 2003 that the bronze medallist of Beesd 2008 has won the world?s biggest equestrian event in Aachen. Chardon remained second and the Dutch won the nations competition in Aachen for the second time in a row, followed by Germany and Switzerland.
The seventh World Cup Qualifying event takes place at the CAI in Nebanice, Czech Republic, from 17-19 July. The last Qualifier is in Donaueschingen, Germany, from 17 to 20 September. The four best results are counted and the Top Ten after Donaueschingen qualify for the FEI World Cup? Driving season 2009-2010.
1. Boyd Exell (Aus) 138,17
Provisional standings after 6 competitions:
1 Boyd Exell AUS 67
Qualifying venues for the 2009-2010 FEI World Cup? Driving season:
1. Fabiansebestyen (HUN), 30 April-2 May 2009
|From: F??ation Equestre Internationale, Lausanne|