Boyd Exell from Australia is the new German Master in Stuttgart. The Great Britain based Australian four-in-hand driver was simply the best at the second competition of the 2009/2010 FEI World Cup? Driving season in the Schlelyer Halle. Dutch drivers Koos de Ronde and IJsbrand Chardon tried their best but were unable to prevent Exell from an impressive win.
Taking the level up
After two amazing victories in Hannover and Stuttgart, title defender Boyd Exell seems untouchable. Dutch national champion of 2008 Koos de Ronde is momentarily the only driver who can get close to Exell. Both drivers are taking the current level of the FEI World Cup? Driving up and are opening the gap between them and their fellow competitors. In Stuttgart, Exell and De Ronde were by far the drivers with the steadiest horses, which allowed them to drive full speed throughout the course. Their teams go fluently through the course and while watching their performance you don?t realize they are so quick until they pass the finish line in an amazing time.
The atmosphere in the Schleyer Halle was fantastic with the many enthusiastic spectators cheering the competitors while they were supported by very good music in a theme that fitted their turnout.
Arrow shape obstacle
German course designer Falk B?nisch, who was responsible for the driving courses in Stuttgart for the 17th time, had designed something special for the 25th anniversary of the Stuttgart German Masters. The 65-year-old driving specialist in heart and soul designed one of the marathon obstacles in the shape of an arrow, which allowed the competitors to drive even faster. The second marathon obstacle had a more technical design and demanded the drivers to slow down and to drive more precisely.
Freund as coach
Michael Freund, multiple winner of the Stuttgart German Masters, coached one of the former students of his ?Perspektivgruppe? Michael Brauchle, who started with a wild card. The 19-year-old amateur, who is in his third year of his metalworker education, recently passed his lorry driver?s license. Brauchle was pleased to compete in Stuttgart but did not have time to train his horses properly because he has given his education his highest priority at the moment. Brauchle came sixth, behind Theo Timmerman from the Netherlands in fifth place and 2008 German Master Jozsef Dobrovitz in fourth position.
The FEI World Cup Driving in Stuttgart was not the only driving show in the Schleyer Halle. Between the show jumping and dressage classes, the spectators were treated to a spectacular show of four six-in-hands of grey horses. World Cup drivers Daniel W?gler from Switzerland, Jozsef Dobrovitz from Hungary and Mark Osztertag, Dobrovitz? cousin who is an international pair driver, and Wurgler?s compatriot Martin Wagner, performed with a mix of grey Kladruber, Lipizzaner, Lusitano, Polish and Andalusian horses. Spectacular fireworks on the carriages formed a beautiful Grande Finale of this wonderful show. Jozsef Dobrovitz brought no les than 16 horses to Stuttgart for this occasion (12 for the two six-in-hands of himself and Osztertag and 4 for the World Cup competitions).
Boyd Exell (Aus): "The key to my success really is that I have experienced and careful horses. With the new experienced horse Spitfire, which I bought from German four-in-hand driver Max Dangel and Bill, the former horse of Christoph Sandmann and Michael Freund, I have a perfect set of leader horses. My wheelers however are the real heroes of my team, they are even more careful and powerful.? ?My horses need to be worked well before I start the competition, the more tired they are, the better they go. And when I don?t push them and just let them run, they open their strides out and go even faster. I also owe this victory to my groom Michelle, who saved my bacon when I wanted to go the wrong way in the course. We form a very good team.?
Koos de Ronde (Ned): ?I changed one leader horse after Hannover and it was his first big event this season. Although the first round did not go exactly the way I wanted, I am happy with my result. My goal was to qualify for the winning round. It was a shame I had one knock down, but Boyd was too far in the lead anyway to be able to beat him. I will keep on chasing him however!?
IJsbrand Chardon (Ned): ?My horses currently lack the speed that is necessary to ensure a high placing. They already went better in the World Cup competition. They still need some fine tuning, but I notice that they are getting better every time. The current level of the World Cup Driving is extremely high and I need to train even more to stay at the top. I was happy several years ago that multiple World Cup Champion Michael Freund stopped driving, but now I got Boyd Exell in return to give me a hard time,? said a smiling Chardon.
Results CAI-W Stuttgart:
FEI World Cup Driving 2009-10
|From: F??ation Equestre Internationale, Lausanne|