5 juli 2009

Aachen: Down under in top

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 standings, followed by Chardon and his compatriot Koos de Ronde.

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
2. Ijsbrand Chardon (Ned) 144,49
3. Christoph Sandmann (Ger) 153,46
4. Tomas Eriksson (Swe) 154,59
5. Koos de Ronde (Ned) 154,79

Provisional standings (NON-OFFICIAL) after 6 competitions:
1 Boyd Exell AUS 67
2 IJsbrand Chardon NED 59
3 Koos de Ronde NED 54
4 József Dobrovitz HUN 53
5 Tomas Eriksson SWE 50
6 Werner Ulrich SUI 43
7 Daniel Würgler SUI 39
8 Lajos Móró HUN 34
9 Michael Brauchle GER 30
10 Rainer Duen GER 27

Qualifying venues for the 2009-2010 FEI World Cup™ Driving season:

1. Fabiansebestyen (HUN), 30 April-2 May 2009
2. Windsor (GBR), 13-15 May 2009
3. Vecses (HUN), 4-7 June 2009
4. Saumur (FRA), 11-14 June 2009
5. Altenfelden (AUT), 18-21 June 2009
6. Aachen (GER), 1-5 July 2009
7. Nebanice (CZE), 16-19 July 2009
8. Beekbergen (NED), 23-26 July 2009
9. Riesenbeck (GER), 31 July-2 August 2009
10. Breda (NED), 4-6 September 2009
11. Donaueschingen (GER), 17-20 September 2009

Boyd Exell (AUS): “This is the first time that I drive this team in Aachen and the horses are going very well. In the marathon I slowed down on purpose in the last two obstacles when I heard the speaker saying that I was faster in some obstacles than Chardon, who started just before me. It is great to win here in Aachen and it has given me confidence to see that I enlarged the gap between me and Chardon after every competition.”
Exell slowed down on purpose in the water obstacle knowing remembering what had happened to him at the water in Windsor: “The horse that fell down in the water in Windsor is back in training again. I wanted to avoid a similar situation so I decided to take it easy in the water hazard.”

IJsbrand Chardon (NED): “In the marathon I drove experienced horses, but the leaders formed a new couple for the first time. I lost ten seconds in the first obstacle because I took a wider turn than I would normally have done. After that, it went well; my horses got better every obstacle. It was a pretty heavy marathon, but my team was fit.”
Chardon was a little disappointed after the final obstacle driving competition: “I came here to win and I didn’t, so I am not pleased. I will start training again tomorrow and I will focus on the Dutch National Championships in Beekbergen at the end of this month.”

Christoph Sandmann (GER) explains the purchase of his new horses: “I lost three horses in the past two years. Except for one horse, I have a completely new team now. When Peter Bennett came to train at my place, I was already interested in his horses, but he did not want to sell them at first. Later on, he offered them to me anyway and I made use of his offer. This year is a try-out year for me to see which horses go best in what position. My goal is to compete at the WEG in Kentucky in 2010 with my new team.”
Sandmann was extremely pleased with his third place, a performance that was better than he had expected.

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.

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 beautiful driving sport in Aachen.

It was the first time since 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 the first place and 37,63 points by four of the five international judges.
Exell was the sixth driver to start on the very sunny site of 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.

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.