22 November 2014

Stuttgart: Exell is the super star in Stuttgart

After two thrilling rounds, reigning FEI World Cup™ Driving Champion Boyd Exell has won the first FEI World Cup™ Driving competition of this season in a fully packed Schleyer Halle in Stuttgart. IJsbrand Chardon (NED) was the runner up, the third place was claimed by home driver Christoph Sandmann (GER).

Boyd drove his very fast bay team, including his new leader horse Poker, to the first place in the first round by putting down a fast time. Poker and Boyd’s left leader horse Bajnok are Lipizzaner horses and have the same father.
Boyd however got a little too confident and went too fast in one of the marathon type obstacles and knocked a ball down with the leader bars. This did not endanger his leading position in the standings after the first round.

His opponent Chardon competed with his experienced team of Lipizzaner horses and was two seconds faster, but the four-times World Champion had three knock downs, which almost cost him a place in the Winning Round. Wild card driver Daniel Schneiders (GER) however also made three mistakes and was slower than Chardon, which dropped him to the seventh place. Germany’s Christoph Sandmann had put together a special indoor team, with two horses from the retired German four-in-hand driver Christian Plücker, a horse borrowed from Georg von Stein and a young horse from his daughter Anna, who was also his navigator. Sandmann put this team to the test for the first time last weekend at a national indoor driving event in the Netherlands and drove a steady and clear first round, which qualified him for the Winning Round.

Chardon was first to go in the Winning Round, which took place over a shortened course, designed by 4* Course Designer Dr. Wolfgang Asendorf (GER). The drivers all praised the course, which fast fast and technical and attractive for the knowledgeable spectators in Stuttgart. Chardon set a fantastic fast and clear round, which Sandmann was unable to equal despite the help from Anna, who replaced Christoph’s voice which he lost because of a cold.

Boyd showed his skills and led his team in full speed through the course, cheered by the very enthusiastic spectators in Stuttgart. Boyd was a split second faster than Chardon and won with a nine-second advantage, which made him the super star in Stuttgart. It is the fourth time that Boyd was crowned as ‘German Master’ in the Schleyer Halle.

Exell and Chardon are not the only ones who are competing with the fast Lipizzaner horses in the indoor season. József Dobrovitz drove his team of grey Lipizzaners to the fourth place and was followed by wild card driver Georg von Stein, who competed for the first time with two new bay Lipizzaner horses in the lead. Newcomer Glenn Geerts has put together a complete indoor team with four grey Lipizzaners. Geerts drove a nice and steady clear round and finished on the sixth place. Second wild card driver Daniel Schneiders had a good start on the first competition day and was a good candidate for the Winning Round, but the German Master 2013 had three knock downs and finished on the seventh place.


Boyd Exell: “Today’s standard was very high, everybody drove well. I am pleased with my new leader horse Poker, I have to get to know him though. I have had him since Aachen and all I have done with him is dressage training. It will take me all season to find out how I can drive him best, but it already looks as if he will be the potential new Bill, my best leader ever who passed away last year.”

IJsbrand Chardon: “This competition was the first one with my experienced horses. I have been testing new horses at national indoor driving events and I was surprised by the mistakes they made and I was also disappointed. But I know how good they are and I just have to keep calm and continue training them at home. I have a good feeling and I am sure they will be better again next time.”

Christoph Sandmann: “Last year I turned down the wild card in Stuttgart and this year I realized what I have missed. The spectators in Stuttgart are the world’s best and it is just fantastic to drive here. I think that I will be able to get close to my opponents with this team in the next shows.”