15 juni 2009

Chardon superior in Saumur

Reigning World Champion IJsbrand Chardon from the Netherlands has won the fourth FEI World Cup™ Qualifier in Saumur, France. After winning in Windsor last month, Chardon now has two wins out of two starts. This promises much for the big upcoming event in Aachen, where Chardon and Boyd Exell, winner of the CAIO in Vecsés, will battle against each other for the first time this season. Chardon’s compatriot Mark Weusthof came second, ahead of the new marathon talent Thibault Coudry from France.

The fifth World Cup Qualifying event takes place at the CAI in Altenfelden, Austria, from 18 to 21 June. 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. Ijsbrand Chardon (Ned) 152.36
2. Mark Weusthof (Ned) 154.57
3. Thibault Coudry (Fra) 154.66
4. Stéphane Chouzenoux (Fra) 157.84
5. Gert Schrijvers (Bel) 183.34

Click here for the full results

IJsbrand Chardon:
“The dressage went very well for me although I had a few mistakes. It was the first big event for my new horse Whooper (v. Sir Sinclair) and together with the Swedish warm blood geldings and another new horse Victory, they make a very good team.“
“I did not drive full speed in the marathon because of this new horse. Despite four knockdowns, my team felt super. I drove a little too fast in the last obstacle where I got stuck. That was my own mistake. I have great respect for Thibault Coudry. He was the only driver who drove a clear marathon. I believe that if he continues like this, he is able to win the marathon in Aachen.”

Mark Weusthof:
“I did not have my day on Saturday, marathon day. I had a hick up in every obstacle; a knock down or I got stuck for a few seconds, there was always something. I cannot explain why this happened, my horses were concentrated, I was concentrated, it just happens to me sometimes. But I just kept on driving and that was my luck. All other drivers also made mistakes so in the end I was very pleased with my second place in the marathon.”

Thibault Coudry
“I compete with my horses for three years now and they are getting better every time. I performed well at the R.I.D.E. in Deauville last September and I received a wild card at the FEI World Cup™ Driving event in Geneva where I came second behind Exell. I won the marathon in Conty at the start of May and now the marathon in Saumur. I had a little mistake in one obstacle, but other than that it went fantastic for me.”

Double World Champion Felix-Marie Brasseur from Belgium is competing with a new team of 5-year-old Andalusian horses of the Spanish stud Hacienda Maria. Brasseur became World Champion in 1996 with Lipizzaner horses; in 2006 he won the World title with Lusitano horses. Brasseur came 7th in Saumur. His compatriot Gert Schrijvers switched from Arabo-Friesian horses to warm bloods last winter after a disagreement with the Arabo-Friesian Studbook. Schrijvers was very pleased with his new team, in which he uses KWPN and Gelder horses and one horse of his old team. Schrijvers ended on the 5th place in the second show he drove with his newly composed team.
Schrijvers will compete at the CHIO in Aachen on individual basis since Brasseur’s horses are too young to compete and there are currently no other Belgian horse team drivers who can compete at this high level.

The excitement grew as the first driver of the Top Four Stéphane Chouzenoux entered the wonderful arena in Saumur for the decisive obstacle driving competition. Chouzenoux had some distance between him and Belgian driver Gert Schrijvers and when he knocked a ball down, this did not affect his fourth place. Runners up Thibault Coudry and Mark Weusthof secured their third and second place by driving double clear rounds, which put the pressure on last starter IJsbrand Chardon. Chardon could not afford one ball but proofed to be a true World Champion. He passed the finish line with a clear round and was announced winner of the CAI-A Saumur 2009.

The 25th edition of the international carriage-driving event in Saumur was blessed with nice temperatures, which increased during the week with a peak on marathon day. Belgian course designer Richard Papens had designed eight tough but fair obstacles on the hippodrome de Verrie that resulted in an interesting outcome of this phase of the competition. It was young and upcoming talent Thibault Coudry who impressed both the spectators and his fellow competitors by driving an astonishing marathon. Apart from a short hick up in obstacle 7, Coudry set the fastest times in the obstacles. The 29-year-old farmer and lorry driver drove his team of Polish horses and one trotter smoothly and without force through the obstacles. This resulted in a third place in the standings after the marathon within an exciting 0,18 points ahead of Chouzenoux, 0,9 points difference to Weusthof and only two points away from leader Chardon, who came fifth in the marathon.
Even though Mark Weusthof did not have his day on marathon day, the tall driver kept on driving and came second, ahead of Stéphane Chouzenoux.
Third Dutch driver Ton Monhemius retired after he got stuck in obstacle 5.

Ijsbrand Chardon did not only travel to Saumur to gather World Cup points, but also to test his new horse Whooper, a KWPN horse which he owns since 9 months. Chardon used the horse in all three phases of the competition and was very pleased with him.

IJsbrand Chardon was unanimously put on the first place in the dressage, although he admitted himself to have made a few mistakes. World Champion single horse driving 2002 Stéphane Chouzenoux has proofed to find his place in the four-in-hand class in which he competes since 2005. Chouzenoux drove his team of mixed warm blood horses to the second place, ahead of Dutch drivers Mark Weusthof and Ton Monhemius.