13 May 2017
Windsor: Exell Increases LeadLast to go in today’s cross-country marathon, Boyd Exell, the overnight horse four-in-hand leader steered a true and steady course through each of the eight obstacles to increase his lead to a comfortable 10+ penalty points.
Photo: Krisztina Horváth
The course had presented few problems to the nearly 60 competitors across horse and pony four-in-hands and horse pairs when the four times World Champion from Australia gave a final masterclass in controlled obstacle driving to stay in pole position ahead of Holland’s Theo Timmerman, still in second place. Edouard Simonet from Belgium won the marathon despite a small mistake in obstacle 1 and moved ahead of Koos de Ronde from the Netherlands to take third place less than 1-pen behind Timmerman.
Tomorrow’s final phase of cones driving looks set to be particularly exciting in both horse pairs and pony fours. In horse pairs less than two penalty points separate the top three placed competitors. Lars Schwitte from Germany retained his lead but narrowly now from Holland’s Harrie Verstappen, a previous horse pairs world champion and Royal Windsor winner, driving his trademark skewbald KWPNs. He moved up from 6th place to overtake Michael Sellier, current French National Champion who came up from fourth place after dressage to. Now lying third, Sellier, a protegee of Boyd Exell’s, is competing at Royal Windsor for the first time.
In pony fours Germany’s Jacqueline Walter drove a storming marathon with her distinctive palomino ponies to knock Holland’s Jan de Boer from first place by less than one penalty point. Driving here for the third time – she finished fourth last year – Walter has recently become a trainee soldier in the German Army. Tinne Bax from Belgium is their closest challenger less than four penalties behind.