7 September 2014
WEG Normandy: Hat trick for fabulous Boyd ExellBoyd Exell (AUS) kept his head clear in the exciting final obstacle driving competition of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy and drove a fabulous clear round, securing his third World Championship title in a row. Chester Weber (USA) put Exell under pressure with a wonderful clear round and took the silver. European Champion Theo Timmerman (NED) took home the individual bronze medal. The Dutch team won the nations competition for the fourth time in a row, followed by Germany and Hungary.
O-Course Designer Richard Nicoll had laid out a nice course at the La Prairie racetrack in Caen, in which nine of the 46 four-in-hand drivers managed to stay clear. The top nine after dressage and marathon did not change after the obstacle driving competition, which was witnessed by somewhat 3000 spectators.
The excitement grew as the competition reached the Top Ten drivers. The German drivers all had one knockdown, but this did not endanger their silver team medal. Fourth-placed driver IJsbrand Chardon put the pressure on his compatriot Theo Timmerman by driving a clear round. Theo only had a 0,5 penalty point advantage to Chardon and knew that he drive clear to secure his bronze medal: “I drove calmly through the first part of the course, but after gate 17 I suddenly realized that it was going to happen! The last part of the course it was difficult to keep it together, but it worked. I am also very pleased with the golden team medal. Koos de Ronde and IJsbrand Chardon did a great job today, I did not have to worry about the team results, I could concentrate on myself. It always feels good to win!”
Young father Chester Weber was the penultimate starter and as he was just 2,77 penalty points behind Exell, Weber was determined to put the pressure on the Australian and drove a double clear round: “I am overjoyed with my silver medal. My horses were great today, it was a great fight with Boyd. I believe I have one of the best cones teams of the world and they did a super job. The course was measured really fair.”
Boyd entered the arena knowing he had to stay clear to be able to be crowned World Champion for the third consecutive time. The true horseman, who will move to the Netherlands before the end of this year, proofed his skills and stayed clear: “It was a huge relief,” commented Boyd afterwards. “The whole weekend we had a good show, but not a perfect show. The cones went really well for me although the arena was moving a lot. I knew Chester would do a clear round because he has been driving clear rounds all season. He has the best cones team and I expected this already. It is great to be the World Champion again and I would like to thank all people in my team for their great support.”
33-year-old Jiri Nesvacil jr., member of the Czech team with his brother Radek and his father Jiri sr., was the first competitor this morning to set a double clear round. Jiri jr. and his team members are trained by Theo Timmerman since the start of this season and the training obviously paid off. French team member Thibault Coudry won this final phase of the competition with a clear round in the fastest time. Wilf Bowman-Ripley (GBR) finished second, ahead of Timmerman and Exell. Young Belgian driver Edouard Simonet, who formerly was a member of Team Exell, also set a clear round, driving the lovely team of Arabo Friesian horses. Simonet, who is the younger brother of the French chef d’equipe Quentin Simonet, celebrated his 25th birthday on Friday. Youngest competitor in the field, 22-year-old Jozsef Dobrovitz jr., contributed to the Hungarian bronze team medal by driving clear as well.