Boyd at his best in Budapest
6 December 2009
Australia?s Boyd Exell was in absolute top form at the fourth leg of the FEI World Cup? Driving in Budapest, Hungary. Cheered by enthusiastic spectators in the L?zlo P?p Sportarena, Boyd won his third FEI World Cup Driving competition of this season. Exell has now completed all his World Cup competitions and with the drop score of Stockholm last weekend he is way in the lead of the standings and certain of a starting place for the World Cup Final in Geneva in April. Dutch driver Koos de Ronde was runner up again, ahead of wild card driver Jozsef Dobrovitz.
Hungarian international course designer and chef d'Equipe G?or F?tha had designed a fast course with technical elements, which was much appreciated by the competitors. Fireworks were set off every time the drivers crossed the bridge. Being a true driving nation with many World Champions in several classes, the Hungarians were very proud of the only FEI World Cup? Driving competition in their country, which was sponsored by OTP Bank.
Boyd Exell, Koos de Ronde and Jozsef Dobrovitz, who is from the nearby town of Vecs?, were the favourite drivers in Budapest. This threesome proved their skills and qualified for the winning round. Dobrovitz started with a newly put-together team after he sold three of his indoor horses to IJsbrand Chardon after the World Cup competition in Stuttgart three weeks ago. The 41-year-old driver took the pressure off second starter Koos de Ronde when he drove too fast, knocked several balls down as well as one of the obstacles. De Ronde drove a very fast round taking sharp turns, but knocked a ball down as well, which gave Boyd Exell some room for error. The 37-year-old British based driver drove an extremely tight course and finished eight seconds faster than De Ronde.
Swiss drivers Werner Ulrich and Daniel W?gler as well as Boyd Exell travelled to Budapest all the way from Stockholm, where they competed in last weekend?s World Cup Driving competition. The horses were not affected by the long trip and performed even better than in Stockholm. Both Swiss drivers used the same horses as last week and were both pleased with their results. Werner Ulrich, the 1991 World Pair Champion and the 1998 World Four-in-hand Champion, came fourth while W?gler ended in fifth place this time.
Czech driver Jiri Nesvacil made his first World Cup appearance in Budapest. The 51-year-old professional driver drove his impressive team of Kladruber geldings and stallions to finish in sixth place. Nesvacil came well prepared to Budapest after having competed in several indoor competitions in the Czech Republic as training. The newcomer was nervous before his first round, but enjoyed his first World Cup experience very much.
No less than three wild cards were given out at the Budapest Horse Show, which is run by the famous World Champion brothers Vilmos and Zolt? L??. Zolt? L?? switched back to driving a team after a sidestep to the pairs class last season in which he took the bronze individual medal. Previous World Cup competitor L??, who was cheered by his home crowd, took his team of Lipizzaner horses to seventh place. World Cup driver Jozsef Dobrovitz, who is currently in 6th place in the standings, used two experienced indoor leader horses and put one of his outdoor leader horses in the wheel in Budapest. The 41-year-old professional carriage driver and trainer will get a last chance in Leipzig to qualify for the Final in Geneva, where the Top Six of the standings after Bordeaux will start. The third wild card went to home driver Miklos Juhasz, driving a team of mixed KWPN warm blood horses. The 26-year-old upcoming driver ended in eighth place.
Boyd Exell (Aus): ?I tried to stay very tight to the obstacles, at one point my navigator Michelle even warned me I was getting too close! I really had to force myself to concentrate during the World Cup competition. When I know the course, I have no adrenalin and I make mistakes like I did in Stockholm last week. I was very happy to be able to use Junior (Carrington Park Ajax) again in the wheel after I was unable to use him in Stockholm because he was not fit. It was like putting an old pair of gloves on!?
Koos de Ronde (Ned): ?It really starts to irritate me that I always end up second behind Exell. But I am pleased with my result; coming second all the time also means that I perform at the same level. The only thing I can do to beat Boyd is to drive as fast as possible and to stay within one ball. I will get two more chances to beat him though; in Mechelen, where he competes with a wild card, and in the Final in Geneva!?
Jozsef Dobrovitz (Hun): ?I felt a lot of pressure competing in Budapest with a wild card, close to my home town and with a new team. It is always nice to perform in front of Hungarian public; it gives me a fantastic feeling. I drove too fast in the winning round which caused many mistakes, but I am happy with my horses, they performed very well.?
Results CAI-W Budapest:
1. Boyd Exell (Aus) 208,16
FEI World Cup Driving 2009-10
|From: F??ation Equestre Internationale, Lausanne|