17 mei 2009

First World Cup points for IJsbrand Chardon

Four times World Champion and vice-World Cup Champion 2008-2009 IJsbrand Chardon from the Netherlands has won the first World Cup Qualifying event for the FEI World Cup™ Driving season 2009-2010. Chardon beat World Cup Champion Boyd Exell from Australia in the last phase of the Landrover International Driving Grand Prix in Windsor, Great Britain.

Twenty-four international four-in-hand drivers crossed the Channel to compete at the beautiful site of the Royal Windsor Horse Show. Dutch course designer Johan Jacobs, who recently received the status of Official International Course Designer, was responsible for the course in Windsor for the very first time in his career. Despite the many rain showers, Windsor enjoyed a very good show with fantastic sport.

Chardon competed with his World Championship team and impressed the judges in the dressage, showing the quality of his team: “My team went excellent, some people even said that they went better than at the World Championships in Beesd last year,” tells Chardon. The reigning World Champion made two small errors in the marathon and came fourth in this phase of the combined driving competition. After dressage and marathon, Chardon was second in the standings, behind Exell who had won the marathon in an impressive way. By finishing the very difficult cones course with just 1,13 penalty points for exceeding the time, Chardon put more pressure on Exell. Exell however knocked two balls down and dropped to the second place in the final standings. Chardon was proud to be warmly and cheerfully congratulated by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and His Royal Highness Prince Philip.

Boyd Exell drove the team of black German bred wam blood horses, owned by his Hungarian sponsor. The bronze medallist in Beesd flew through the eight obstacles and won the marathon despite two knockdowns in the same obstacle. The only stain on the whole show was Exell’s yellow card. While driving towards the finish of the last obstacle, the water splash, one of his horses fell down and got injured. The horse came up by itself and was checked directly after the obstacle’s finish line by the grooms. Exell finished the marathon, but the officials at the finish did not accept the incident and gave him a yellow card.

Koos de Ronde who came third in the FEI World Cup ™ Driving Final in February, finished third in Windsor: “I was somewhat disappointed with my dressage scores, I felt my test deserved better.” De Ronde started off on 13 penalty points behind Chardon, but he soon discovered that the obstacles designed by his compatriot Jacobs suited him very well: ” The obstacles were very nice, some were technical and in some we were invited to drive long lines, which was nice for the crowd to watch.” No more than 29 knockdowns were placed in the eight marathon obstacles, which made the competitors drive with more respect in order to avoid extra penalty points. Koos’ golden team member in Beesd Mark Weusthof drove an impressive marathon and came second in this phase, just behind Exell.

By taking four places in the Top Six, the Dutch have taken most points in the first World Cup Qualifying event of this season. Switzerland’s Werner Ulrich finished fifth, just behind Theo Timmerman.

Full results