26 oktober 2009

WC Hannover: Exell class of its own

FEI World Cup™ Driving title defender Boyd Exell from Australia was a class of its own at the first leg of the 2009/2010 season. Exell drove an impeccable fast round and stayed 10 seconds ahead of Koos de Ronde from the Netherlands and Tomas Eriksson from Sweden.

With four out of the six 2008/2009 World Cup finalists present, the drivers considered the first World Cup competition in Hannover as the leg with the strongest field of competitors. World Cup winner Boyd Exell, Dutch drivers Ijsbrand Chardon and Koos de Ronde, Jozsef Dobrovitz from Hungary, Tomas Eriksson and wild card driver Rainer Duen performed two days at in the Messehalle in Hannover where they were cheered by many enthusiastic visitors of the German Classics horse show.


Exell had some bad luck on the first day when his spare horse Pascal was declared not fit to compete by the veterinarians. After his fourth place in the warm up competition, Exell did some fine-tuning on his horses and this resulted in two very fast rounds in the World Cup competition. Unlike his fellow competitors who all drove the same horses as last season, Exell used a new leader horse in his team in Hannover. Spitfire, a 16-year-old gelding who was formerly owned by the German four-in-hand-driver Max Dangel, moved to Exell’s stables several weeks ago and the 2008 bronze medallist at the World Championships in Beesd is very pleased with this new horse.

Exell drove a clear and fast first round which none of his fellow competitors were able to beat. Koos de Ronde and Tomas Eriksson qualified for the winning round, while reigning World Champion IJsbrand Chardon had to miss this after he knocked a ball down. Chardon’s team lost speed in the marathon obstacles, where they normally are the fastest. Chardon however took his fourth place as a good sportsman and is determined to make up for it in Stuttgart. The Lipizzaner horses of Jozsef Dobrovitz lacked speed and teamwork in Hannover, which made the organizer of the international competition in Vecses come fifth, ahead of home driver Rainer Duen who had received the wild card.

After Tomas Eriksson had knocked two balls down, Koos de Ronde knew he had to drive as fast as possible to put the pressure on Exell, who was only 5 seconds ahead of him. De Ronde drove his special indoor team very fast through the much-praised course, designed by the German World Championship course designer Dr. Wolfgang Asendorf and set a very fast time in a clear round. Exell felt the pressure, but went full throttle, drove a clear round and secured his victory for the first time in Hannover.

Boyd Exell (Aus):
“On the first night I was ring rusty, but after I did some fine-tuning, the horses went much better the second day. Especially my new horse Spitfire did not know what to expect. I decided to trust him more and just let him go and he understood. I will keep driving this team the next shows, but I always have a good spare horse at home as well if necessary. The real heroes in my team are the wheeler horses; they are extremely fast and intelligent. I feel that this team cannot go much faster, but I will try to drive smoother and neater.”

Koos de Ronde (Ned)
“I knew I had to drive as fast as possible. I unfortunately had a miscommunication with my leader horses during the course. It cost me several seconds before I was back in the right rhythm and had full control again. I liked the course very much, it was a true World Cup course.”

Tomas Eriksson (Swe)
“I was happy to have made it to the winning round since I did not have a very good performance on the first day. I had nothing to loose and although I had two knock downs, I am pleased with my result.”

Results CAI-W Hannover:
1. Boyd Exell (Aus) 216.31
2. Koos de Ronde (Ned) 226.69
3. Tomas Eriksson (Swe) 247.34
4. IJsbrand Chardon (Ned) 125.89
5. Jozsef Dobrovitz (Hun) 127.56
6. Rainer Duen (Ger) 138.58

Classification after 1 of 7 events:
1. Boyd Exell (Aus) 10
2. Koos de Ronde (Ned) 7
3. Tomas Eriksson (Swe) 5
4. IJsbrand Chardon (Ned) 3
5. Jozsef Dobrovitz (Hun) 2