13 December 2015

8th win at FEI World Cup™ Driving in Geneva for Boyd Exell

Reigning FEI World Cup Champion Boyd Exell (AUS) has won the FEI World Cup™ Driving Leg in Geneva for the 8th time in his career on Sunday morning. Exell finished over 11 seconds faster than runner up Sébastien Mourier (FRA) who competed with a wild card. Koos de Ronde (NED) claimed the third place.

Jerome Voutaz received the wild card in Geneva in 2013 and 2014 and is this season part of the Series. Voutaz choose Geneva to compete for points instead of asking for a wild card to allow his compatriots Werner Ulrich and Cyril Maret to compete in the Palexpo as well, with wild cards. Voutaz felt less pressure than during his first competition abroad in Madrid but felt the disadvantage of the long course: “My horses turn very fast in the obstacles, but they loose speed in the length of the course. But I gave everything and I am very pleased with my horses.”

Both Boyd and Koos will compete in the fifth Leg at London Olympia next week, but they both feel this will not affect their horses: “We all know that December is a busy month with many World Cup competitions,” says Koos. “Everybody is well prepared and the horses are all fit.”
Father and son József and József jr. Dobrovitz finished on the fourth and fifth place today. Their leader horses missed the necessary speed in order to keep up with the fast times of their fellow competitors. Father Dobrovitz will also compete at London Olympia next week, where he will use one of Boyd Exell’s horses to spare one of his own.

Photo: Marie de Ronde-Oudemans

Boyd Exell proofed to be in top form again in Geneva, where the drivers felt very much at home. Exell won his second FEI World Cup title in Geneva in 2010 and has won every leg of the FEI World Cup™ Driving in the Palexpo Hall which he started in.
Boyd put down a very fast round and was six seconds faster than during the First Competition on Saturday afternoon, despite one knock down. Before going into the Winning Round, which took place over a shortened course, Boyd had an advantage of 16 seconds to Mourier, but the six-times FEI World Cup Champion just let his horses go and drove them smooth and fast through the course, securing his third win in a row for this season: “I had two knock downs today and that was me interfering with my horses, I was trying to be too careful,” explains Exell. “I never underestimate the other competitors and I always feel pressure before the drive-off because I know how quickly you can go from hero to zero.”
With 30 points, Boyd is in the lead of the ranking and has already secured his ticket for the Final in Bordeaux on 6 and 7 February.

Dutch Level 4 Course Designer Johan Jacobs had laid out a long course in the largest arena in the world, which consisted of a spectacular water splash, a bridge, three marathon obstacles and several cones. Despite the early morning hour, the tribunes were filled with enthusiastic spectators, who enjoyed the skills of the eight drivers performing at the 55th edition of the CHI Geneva.

Geneva was only the second ever World Cup experience for French driver Sébastien Mourier, who had received one of the three wild cards in Geneva. Mourier competed with a wild card earlier this year in the FEI World Cup™ Driving Final in Bordeaux, where he finished sixth. Mourier drove his beautifully turned out team of grey mixed warm blood horses fast through the course, staying ahead of the more experienced drivers. Mourier qualified for the Winning Round where he had two knock downs, but by setting the fastest time he secured his second place: “I had never driven a Winning Round before, so I did not know how my horses would respond, especially in this long course. But it went very well, they were a bit tired in the end but they did a fantastic job, I am very grateful to them.”
Mourier prepared for this World Cup competition in the same way as for the outdoor marathons: “After my disappointing results at the European Championships in Aachen where I had a problem with one horse, I was luckily able to use that same horse again here as it has fully recovered. I have not done any special training and it was amazing to be here. I now hope to receive a wild card again for the Final in Bordeaux,” said a Mourier laughing.

Photo: Marie de Ronde-Oudemans

The most experienced wild card driver Werner Ulrich finished 7th, assisted by his daughter Laura and son Stefan on the carriage. Ulrich competed for the 11th time in Geneva this year and put a new outdoor leader horse to the test.
Local hero Cyril Maret received the wild card in Geneva 2014 and finished on the 8th place. Cyril’s first performance in Geneva was in 2000 when he performed in a show with an Hungarian post.

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Results FEI World Cup™ Driving, Geneva (SUI), 13 December 2015:

1. Boyd Exell (AUS) 328,86
2. Sébastien Mourier (FRA) 340,22
3. Koos de Ronde (NED) 343,00
4. József Dobrovitz (HUN) 181,91
5. József Dobrovitz jr. (HUN) 190,19
6. Jérôme Voutaz (SUI) 191,36
7. Werner Ulrich (SUI) 204,06
8. Cyril Maret (SUI) 214,59

FEI World Cup™ Driving, standings after 4 of 7 events:

1 Boyd EXELL AUS 30
2 IJsbrand CHARDON NED 17
3 Koos DE RONDE NED 14
5 Rainer DUEN GER 8
Jozsef DOBROVITZ jr. HUN 8
7 Michael BRAUCHLE GER 7
10 Glenn GEERTS BEL 2

Since Mourier competed with a wild card, third-placed driver Koos de Ronde will receive the 7 points, putting the bronze medallist at the European Championships 2015 on the third place in the ranking.
De Ronde had changed two horses compared to his last start in Madrid: “I have six horses at my disposal for my indoor team and because of the long course in this large arena I choose to use two other horses,” explains De Ronde, who put down the only clear round of the competition in the first round today.
“In the Winning Round I drove a little too safe,” says Koos. “And I had a knock down as well so I punished myself twice. I should have taken more risk, but that’s the game. I found the course very long, especially in the Winning Round I think it would have been more exciting if one of the obstacles had been taken out.”