Tag Archives: Boyd Exell

Exell Wins Individual Gold as Team USA’s Golden Victory Thrills Home Crowd

Australia’s Boyd Exell (FEI / Liz Gregg)

On a day when the home nation USA secured a stunning victory in the Polaris Ranger driving team competition to round off a triumphant FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon (WEG), Australian driver Boyd Exell proved he remains in a league of his own by securing a third successive individual WEG gold medal.

Despite the valiant efforts of crowd favourite Chester Weber, who showed icy composure to drive his team to gold and also grab individual silver, no one was able to rival Exell from the moment he entered the dressage arena on day one.

First in the dressage, third in the marathon stage despite driving with broken brakes, and second in the closing cones phase, Exell finished with an overall score of 154.14, almost 10 points clear of Weber. Edouard Simonet, the 29-year-old Belgian who was once a back-stepper for Exell, took the bronze medal with a final score of 174.15.

“I love training horses. It is a relief to win, I have a huge team of people who have been with me 20 years.” — Boyd Exell (Australia)

Weber, who also finished second to Exell at the 2014 WEG in Normandy, France, was overjoyed to take an unexpected team title in front of a raucous North Carolina crowd.

“I can tell you it was a surprise. I thought we came here with a chance of a medal but if you had asked me if I was going to have a bet on whether we were going to be world champions, I would have said I am not sure,” said Weber, whose USA team finished with a winning score of 353.39.

Teammate James Fairclough, who introduced Weber to the sport as a 13-year-old, already has an eye on the future after the USA beat the Netherlands, the 2010 and 2014 champions, into second and Belgium into third.

“I hope it’s going to inspire a lot of people to come forward and try the sport. It’s a great boost for us,” Fairclough said.

Basking in the glow of winning a WEG bronze medal to go with their 2017 European team bronze, the Belgium team also served notice of their intention to change driving’s established order.

“We are the future not only of Belgium driving but of international driving,” said Glenn Geerts, who like individual bronze medal winner Simonet is 29 years old, while Dries Degrieck, the third member of the team, is just 23.

In comparison, traditional powerhouses the Netherlands finished Tryon 2018 lamenting unexpectedly poor marathon performances from their often all-conquering father and son duo Ijsbrand and Bram Chardon.

The pair did come out firing on the final day, with 25-year-old Bram Chardon producing the only double clear round. But it was not enough to deliver a third successive team gold.

“We wanted to get our spot back; that spot was meant for us,” said a dejected Bram Chardon.

Click here for full results.

By Luke Norman

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Brakes Off but Pressure Was On for Untouchable Aussie Boyd Exell

Boyd Exell with his carriage of horses Celviro, Checkmate, Daphne, and Zindgraaf. (FEI / Christophe Taniere)

Not even broken brakes could prevent Boyd Exell (AUS) from tightening his grip towards a third successive individual gold medal as the Polaris Ranger driving marathon test delighted the packed crowds at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon (WEG).

The Netherlands’ notorious marathon specialist Koos De Ronde won the day with his score of 117.28 points, helping him jump 10 places in the overall individual standings to sit fourth with just the cones test to come. But nothing could stop the relentless Exell from once again grabbing the headlines.

The Australian noticed early on that his braking system was compromised and yet still the 2010 and 2014 WEG Individual champion managed to get round the Richard Nicol-designed course in a score of 121.93, the third best of the day. That was enough to extend his overall lead to 7.00 points over second-placed Chester Weber.

“It caused a problem in hazard one; we came in hot because there is a big long gallop into gate A and we drifted too wide and they (the horses) looked to the left rather than being able to square up the turn – that was a bit disappointing hazard one, gate A, first mistake,” Exell said, with a wry smile.

“Hazards three, four and five are all up and down dips, so the reins were around my head one moment and then on the floor and then round my neck. But we fought. We didn’t give up; we kept fighting all the way.” — Boyd Exell (Australia)

Home favourite Weber kept up the pressure on the all-conquering Australian with a controlled display, backed up by an intricately planned strategy designed to combat the searing heat and humidity.

“We have done a lot of studying of lactate levels and heart rates to try and get the horses ready for this,” Weber explained. “When the temperatures get hotter, the heart rates get higher and lactates grow. We trained them at home (Florida, USA) with gallop sets – you can actually train them to drop their heart rate.”

Hitting his pre-planned targets all the way round, Weber brought home his carriage in 125.51, the fifth best score of the day. The 29-year-old Belgian Edouard Simonet sits just behind him in the overall standings, after adding a confident marathon drive to his solid dressage score.

A protégée of Boyd Exell’s, Simonet is a real threat to the big two with his favoured cones test to come.

“I love the game, so let’s play tomorrow,” Simonet said.

Dutchman De Ronde’s magnificent drive saved what was otherwise a disastrous day for the men in orange. Father and son Ijsbrand and Bram Chardon both made significant, uncharacteristic errors dropping the Dutch, winner of the team competition in 2010 and 2014, down to third in the standings. Team USA leads on 338.55 points, more than 15 points clear of Team Belgium.

“It was terrible. It’s a big disappointment for us both but eventually it will make you stronger and for now we have to keep the team together,” said Bram Chardon. The 25-year-old was 18th quickest on the day with his father just two places better off.

Click here for full results.

By Luke Norman

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Superb Dressage Display Puts Peerless Exell in Control

Boyd Exell with his dream team of horses, Carlos, Celviro, Checkmate, and Zindgraaf. (FEI/Christophe Taniere)

Australian Boyd Exell produced a driving dressage masterclass at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon (WEG) backed by a team of horses he rates as his “best ever” as he took a giant step towards claiming his third successive individual gold medal.

The man who has dominated driving for much of the past decade shook off the lingering effects of breaking his ankle in July, finished with a score of 31.68, putting him 3.42 points clear of the USA’s Chester Weber. For Exell it was his greatest dressage performance to date.

“In Kentucky in 2010 I did a 30 and the crazy thing is that was a beautiful test but we did not have the same power and movement of this team,” said Exell, who has seven FEI World Cup™ driving titles to his name.

“Even when the crowd cheered on the way in, which some horses don’t like, I could just feel my team power up. It was like turning a V8 engine into a V10.” — Boyd Exell (Australia)

Fierce rival Weber, who finished second to Exell at the 2014 WEG in Normandy, entered the arena with the crowd still cheering the two-time champion.

“That was sort of motivating for me, to be honest,” Weber said. “I sort of shook my head like a prize fighter and said to myself ‘c’mon’.”

It worked with a particularly fine rein-back among the highlights as Weber delighted the crowd yet further and finished with 35.10 points.

The Dutch veteran Ijsbrand Chardon, winner of the prestigious Aachen Championships this year, showed all his undoubted class and skill to grab third with a score of 41.06 in what is his weakest discipline. The five-time WEG team champion and 2002 individual gold medallist was the last of the 19 drivers to enter the arena, not that he minded.

“I was fairly relaxed, last driver is the best position. I saw Boyd’s and Chester’s points but then it was very important I made my performance,” Chardon said, before he admitted he might require some help to catch the leader.  “Boyd I need to make a big mistake – 10 points is too much. Six points to Chester is possible.”

A strong performance from Ijsbrand’s 25-year-old son Bram Chardon helped the Netherlands claim second place in the team competition. But the 2010 and 2014 WEG team champions are facing a real battle to hold onto their title.

Led by Weber and boosted by a beautifully controlled performance from dressage specialist Misdee Wrigley-Miller, who scored 42.00 and lies fourth in the individual standings, the USA will take a 10.33 point lead into Saturday’s marathon phase.

“Everyone has been telling me it is just another competition and not to worry about it,” laughed Wrigley-Miller. “But when I came into the arena it was like ‘ooomph’ – the weight of the world fell on my shoulders.”

Click here for full results.

By Luke Norman

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Champions Crowned at CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show

The final day of Royal Windsor Horse Show provided top class sport and entertainment across the showground as the week’s Champions were crowned.

The pinnacle of the CSI5* Show Jumping, the Rolex Grand Prix went to Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat after a gripping jump-off, featuring some of the world’s best riders.

After a fantastic week of Showing action, which included wins for Her Majesty The Queen, the Royal Windsor Supreme Ridden Showing Championship went to Robert Walker and his Hunter Champion, View Point.

Her Majesty The Queen was present to watch the retirement of her homebred former racehorse, Barbers Shop, winner of the Royal Windsor Supreme Ridden Showing Championship in 2017, in an emotional ceremony in the Castle Arena.

SHOW JUMPING: A SPECIAL VICTORY FOR STEVE GUERDAT

A thrilling Rolex Grand Prix provided the perfect finale to Show Jumping at Royal Windsor, with the world’s best riders in action, all looking to claim the prestigious title and the €75,000 first prize.

A full field of 30 riders contested Bob Ellis and Kelvin Bywater’s up-to-height 1.60m course, which posed several challenges, with faults falling evenly throughout the course. 10 combinations jumped clear through to the jump-off, setting up an exciting climax.

Britain’s William Whitaker was the first to take on the shortened course, jumping a brilliant clear round to put the pressure on. Cousin Robert Whitaker followed and showed that the time could be beaten, but was the first of several combinations to incur four faults at the Rolex oxer at the last.

Emanuele Gaudiano (ITA) put in a physical display of riding to push Caspar 232 on between fences and take the lead with an impressive time of 44.31; however, it was Laura Kraut (USA) with new ride Catwalk 22 who lay down the gauntlet to the remainder of the field, knocking 0.79 seconds off Gaudiano’s time. Kraut, who has only had the ride on the eleven-year-old Catwalk 22 for three weeks, showed her brilliance, making slightly wider turns, which allowed a smooth and fast-paced round to take the lead.

With four left to go, including two Olympic champions and the reigning European champion, it was a nail-biting conclusion, and it was Steve Guerdat (SUI) with his consistent mare Bianca who managed to pip Kraut to the post with a relentless pace and quick turnbacks to shave another 0.41 seconds off the time, finishing in a time of 43.11. Canada’s Eric Lamaze riding Fine Lady 5, one of the fastest combinations on the international circuit looked like he had the class in the bag as last to go, crossing the line in a time of 41.82, but was another to succumb to the final fence, finishing on four faults.

Celebrating his victory, Guerdat, who last competed at Windsor at the European Championships in 2009, where he won team gold, said, “Windsor has been a good place for me. I had a really good feeling coming in to today. Bianca has been jumping really good and gaining experience and she felt really fresh and happy to jump this week. It might sound crazy, as amazing as she is, but this is the first class we have won together, so I’m really pleased for he; she really deserves it; it’s very special.”

Earlier in the day, there was a British victory in the Palm Speed Stakes, with Robert Smith taking the win riding the eleven-year-old grey gelding Cimano E.

As second to go, compatriot William Whitaker set the standard aboard Lammy Beach, however his lead was short-lived as Wilm Vermeir (BEL), already a winner this week, shaved 0.2 seconds off his time to take over the top spot. Italy’s Emanuele Gaudiano, always a threat against the clock, wasted no time from the start, making an exceptionally tight turn to the final line to go faster still, posting a time of 54.87 aboard the nine-year-old Einstein.

With a strong field to follow, the pressure was on to post a fast time, which resulted in a few mistakes as riders chased the leading time. Robert Smith negotiated the twisty track brilliantly, moving quickly across the ground and making the tightest of turns throughout to set the new pace with a time of 54.01, over half-a-second faster than Gaudiano. Smith’s time proved unbeatable, Frenchman Olivier Robert gave it his best shot, making a new move inside an oxer to number eight, but his effort was only good enough for third position.

Speaking after the class, Smith said, “It’s always great to have a home win, but the Show here at Windsor is as good as anywhere in the world and it’s always top-class competition. The classes this week have all been fast and very competitive, so it’s not easy to get in the money, so I’m really pleased to be going home with a win.”

DRIVING: A NINTH VICTORY FOR EXELL

The world’s number one horse four-in-hand driver, Boyd Exell from Australia, showed yet again why he has held this title consistently over the last decade. He steered his team of black horses – three Gelderlanders and an Oldenburg mare – to his ninth CAIO4* Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix victory at Royal Windsor Horse Show.

With nearly 20 penalties in hand after the marathon, the result seemed never in doubt, but the cones course still has to be driven and course designer, Johan Jacobs from the Netherlands, had set a course that presented a strong challenge to all drivers. Last to go, Exell had one ball down and collected 0.33 time penalties but he remained the comfortable and much applauded winner.

Edouard Simonet from Belgium, a protegee of Exell’s and winner of the marathon section here last year, retained the second place which he had claimed after the marathon, his team of black Arab cross Friesians looking ever more confident. Third place – and an outstanding result – went to Bram Chardon, the 25-year-old son of Ijsbrand Chardon, the Netherlands’ leading driver over two decades; he moved ahead of his father in the cones phase at this, his Royal Windsor debut in horse four-in-hands.

Switzerland’s Beat Schenk, leader after the marathon phase, retained his winning position in horse pairs, to record his fourth Royal Windsor victory. The ten-time Swiss champion pairs a black German-bred horse with a grey Lippizaner; with them he also took the bronze medal at last year’s World Horse Pairs Championship at Lipica, Slovenia. Germany claimed second and third places in this class with Sebastian Warneck and Dennis Schneiders, moving up from third and fifth, respectively.

In pony four-in-hands Great Britain’s hopes were high when young driver Roger Campbell’s excellent marathon put him into second place overall. In third place behind him, Tinne Bax from Belgium applied all possible pressure in the cones phase by posting the only double clear of the class. With less than one penalty between them, Roger could have neither driving nor time penalties; sadly, his one cone down dropped him to third. The winner was Jan de Boer, whose team of Welsh ponies rose to the occasion to give the Dutchman his seventh Royal Windsor victory.

SHOWING: ROBERT WALKER REIGNS SUPREME

Wednesday’s Hunter Champion, View Point ridden by Robert Walker, remained foot perfect in the electric Castle Arena in front of Her Majesty The Queen to become this year’s Royal Windsor Supreme Ridden Showing Champion. Sixteen of the week’s high-class champions came before judges Carl Hester MBE and Charlotte Dujardin CBE to select which stood out above the others.

Hester said: “We were looking for a correct type that looked easy to ride and covered the ground effortlessly.”

The reserve went to the reining Horse of the Year Show Supreme Pony, Lucy Richardson’s Welsh Section A gelding, Thistledown Van Der Vaart, ridden by her daughter Lilly and produced by Sharn Linney.

Earlier in the day, North Yorkshire-based William Pittendrigh jumped one of the few clear rounds to win the Intermediate Working Hunter Pony Championship, and a storming gallop clinched his first Royal Windsor title. His partner was his mother’s six-year-old Silver Lough. Reserve went to the class runner-up, Jodie Creighton, who traveled from Northern Ireland specially to compete at the prestigious event with her seven-year-old, Newmarket Alloy, earning the Royal International ticket as Silver Lough had already qualified.

Oli Hood floated away with the Riding Horse Championship sponsored by Mr and Mrs Phil Swallow for the second year running on Annabel Jenks’ stunning gelding Diamonds Are Forever, who triumphed here last year with Oli’s father Allister. When local rider Jayne Ross won the small class and stood reserve with Diane Stennett’s Casino, the result was an exact duplicate – not only of last year’s Royal International Horse Show, but also The Horse of The Year Show, where Diamonds Are Forever went on to stand Supreme Champion.

Gayle Telford, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
E: gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk T: +44 (0)203 176 0355
www.rwhs.co.uk

World’s Best Out in Force at Royal Windsor Horse Show

Her Majesty The Queen was present to watch the afternoon action in the Castle Arena, presenting several awards, including the Best Turned Out Trooper and The Challenge Cup and Queen’s Plate for the winners of the Land Rover Services Team Jumping.

Daniel Deusser continued his stellar Royal Windsor form to take the pinnacle of the day’s competition, The CSI5* Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes For The King’s Cup with Britain’s Guy Williams taking the evening’s Falcon Stakes, much to the delight of the home crowd.

In the Driving, a familiar face sits in pole position of the horse four-in-hand ahead of the cones phase, with eight-time Royal Windsor winner Boyd Exell occupying the top spot.

SHOW JUMPING: DEUSSER AND EQUITA MAKE IT TWO FROM TWO WHILE WILLIAMS POSTS A WIN FOR BRITAIN

Daniel Deusser and Equita Van T Zorgvliet made it two from two on their Royal Windsor debut, winning the feature class of the day The CSI5* Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes For The King’s Cup.

Bob Ellis and Kelvin Bywater’s 1.55m course posed several challenges in the first round, with a difficult line of two doubles catching several combinations out early on and a particularly spooky swan themed fence causing a few problems too. 10 of the 30 starters jumped clear to make it through to the competitive jump-off, which featured many of the world’s best riders.

First to go in the jump-off was the class winner from two years ago, Laura Kraut (USA), riding Catwalk 22, who jumped immaculately to set the standard with a clear round in a time of 38.99. Canada’s Tiffany Foster took over the pole position as fourth to go with a particularly tight turn to fence eight, the swans, to shave 1.87 seconds off Kraut’s time; however, her lead was short-lived as Britain’s Robert Whitaker rode an immaculate round, turning especially tight to the double down the final line to take over the top spot. Next into the arena, 2008 Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze (CAN) showed that the time could be beaten, riding a very fast round, but the twelve-year-old gelding Chacco Kid clipped the vertical going into the final double to finish on four faults.

With two former world number one riders still to come, Whitaker’s lead was never secure, and Kent Farrington (USA) came close, his nimble chestnut gelding Creedance covering the ground quickly, but with slightly wider turns they finished 0.03 seconds slower. As last to go, Daniel Deusser, riding Equita Van T Zorgvliet, retained his top form, making all the turns and striding out between the fences to post an exceptional time of 35.51 and take the victory, lining up a meeting with Her Majesty The Queen, who presented The King’s Cup to the winner.

Speaking after the presentation, Deusser said, “It’s turning out to be a good show for me this week. I’m wondering why I haven’t been here before! I’m really happy with how it went today. I managed to make a couple of really tight turns, so I thought I was quick, but I knew Robert’s horse was big striding, so I couldn’t relax. The win is extra special as I will now get to meet the Queen, which is a great honour and I am really looking forward to it.”

The highlight of the evening performance, the CSI5* Falcon Stakes, provided top class entertainment with the world’s best riders back in action. Speed was a major factor from the start, with only 10 places available in the jump-off, it was only the fastest of the 16 clear rounds from the first round that made it through. The top ten then returned in reverse order, with the advantage falling to USA’s Laura Kraut as the fastest clear in round one to be the last to go in the jump-off.

Qualifying in tenth position, Italy’s Emanuele Gaudiano was first to tackle the shortened jump-off course and put the pressure on from start, with his foot flat to the floor throughout and smooth tight turns posting a clear round in 35.75 seconds. Britain’s Scott Brash followed him into the arena and immediately took over the lead with an incredibly slick round, saving time with the tightest of turns, to record a time of 35.40. The lead changed several times before the end; first it was Steve Guerdat from Switzerland, who flew straight out of the gate, making up time across the ground to overtake Brash, with William Funnell (GBR) coming close too, but it was Britain’s Guy Williams as the penultimate to go, who took the victory. Riding the thirteen-year-old stallion Rouge De Ravel, Williams kept up the pace throughout and pulled off an exceptional turn to the Hermès vertical at the far end to make up 0.36 seconds on Guerdat.

Williams praised his horse following his victory. “He’s a really good horse and I know he’s fast, so with a good draw, I knew I was in with a chance. It’s always good to win on home soil and the crowd here tonight was fantastic, so it’s been a great night.”

SHOWING: PONIES TAKE TO THE FORE

India Till scooped the biggest prize of her career so far when her 128cm show pony, Rotherwood Rainmaker, landed the coveted Martin Collins Enterprises Show Pony Championship title, one of the most sought-after accolades on the pony Showing circuit.

After winning a strong class, the diminutive pair defied the rain to command the Castle Arena, prompting judge D Price Jones to comment: “We were looking for a quality pony that would carry a child safely and prettily. This pony does exactly that.”

A former Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) reserve with previous jockey Poppy Carter, the exquisite bay has introduced India to top flight showing, still produced by Poppy’s mother, Katy Carter.

Reserve went to the 148cm victors, Phoebe Price and her 2016 HOYS champion and last year’s HOYS class winner, Litton Enterprise, a 12-year-old produced by Julie Templeton.

The Novice Show Pony Championship title is equally sought-after. This year it fell to Robert Walker’s son Sam, who celebrated his 14th birthday five days earlier, with Julie Rucklidge’s homebred five-year-old 138cm class winner, Jackets Dynasty, also produced by Julie Templeton. The charming bay mare is following in illustrious footsteps, as both her dam, Jackets Maybee, and granddam Jackets Maysong won at Royal Windsor and went on to triumph at HOYS.

After some strong classes, the BSPS Mountain and Moorland Ridden Championship — and coveted ticket to the Heritage Finale at Olympia, The London International Horse Show in December — went to Becki Penny with Lynn Scott’s ultra-consistent homebred Welsh section C stallion, Lynuck The Showman.

Two Connemara ponies dominated the popular Mountain and Moorland Working Hunter Pony classes. Riverside Daffodil, owned and ridden by Renee Nichols, jumped a super round to head the exceeding 143cm division and stand champion, ahead of the exceeding 133cm but not exceeding 143cm class victor, Hearnesbrook New Moon, owned by Phyll Buxton and ridden by Ella Dalton.

DRIVING: EXELL EXCELS IN TRICKY CONDITIONS

In horse four-in-hands, the leader – reigning world champion and winner here eight times – Boyd Exell (AUS) drove surely and confidently in wet conditions, recording the fastest time in five of the obstacles. He won this section and increased his lead to an impressive 20 penalties. His closest challenger at this time is Belgium’s Edouard Simonet whose careful marathon – he was third in the phase – moved him into second place overall, from fifth after the dressage. Father and son competitors from the Netherlands, Ijsbrand and Bram Chardon, the latter competing in horse four-in-hands for the first time here, moved up the leader board to take third and fourth places, respectively, less than one penalty separating them.

Horse pairs saw a change in leader when second placed Beat Schenk from Switzerland moved up to first place ahead of France’s Franck Grimonprez, a member of France’s bronze medal winning team at the 2017 World Horse Pairs Championships in Slovenia. Germany’s Sebastian Warneck, a silver team medallist in Slovenia last year, moved up a place to third.

Positions changed, too, in pony four-in-hands. Overnight leader Tinne Bax (BEL) dropped from first place to third, while Great Britain’s young pony four-in-hand competitor, Roger Campbell, drove an outstanding marathon to win this section and secure him second place ahead of the cones phase. He is less than three penalties behind the new overnight leader Jan de Boer from the Netherlands, who has six previous wins at Royal Windsor with his team of Welsh ponies.

Tickets for Royal Windsor Horse Show are still available via www.rwhs.co.uk.

Gayle Telford, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
E: gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk T: +44 (0)203 176 0355

Seventh FEI World Cup Driving Title for Boyd Exell

Boyd Exell (FEI/Stefan Lafrentz)

Lausanne (SUI), 26 February 2017 – After a breath taking competition at the renowned Gothenburg Horse Show in Sweden, Boyd Exell (AUS) won the FEI World Cup™ Driving Final for the seventh time in his career. The silver went well deserved to Jérôme Voutaz (SUI) who was the winner the day before. Koos de Ronde (NED) took home the bronze.

Level 4 Course Designer Johan Jacobs (NED) had laid out a technical course with three obstacles and a brand new bridge, which suited most of the drivers. It was Jacobs’ first time as Course Designer at an FEI World Cup ™ Driving Final and his goal was to see controlled speed, which worked out well in the course.

After Competition 1 on Saturday, the drivers carried 50% of the time difference in seconds between the winner and themselves forward into the Final.

Boyd Exell had to make up 1,74 seconds to Jérôme Voutaz and decided to change his route to avoid making any mistakes like he had done the day before: “Today I was more focused; I drove better. My horses were just as good as yesterday. It is always difficult to deliver a good round, but today it went really well.” After the first round, Boyd had an advantage of a little over four seconds to Jérôme, so he was the last man in. The Winning Round took place over a shortened course and Boyd drove fast and clear, securing his seventh World Cup title and the second one in Gothenburg. Boyd won his first ever Final in the Scandinavium in 2009.

Jérôme Voutaz was not amongst the top favourites before the Final but that changed quickly when he drove an impeccable round in Competition 1. Jérôme had never won a World Cup round before and was very pleased, but also felt the pressure of being the last starter in the first round of the Final. Jérôme turned his team of Freiberger horses very tight around the obstacles and set a good time. Unfortunately, one knock down prevented him from widening the gap with third placed Koos de Ronde. Before the winning round, the difference between De Ronde and Voutaz was only 0,53 seconds, but De Ronde knocked two balls down which gave Voutaz some air: “I was very pleased with my rounds and happy to be able to keep the pressure on. But I made a few mistakes with my rein handling, so I know I can be a little faster still; there is more to win with this team!” The Swiss auto mechanic is an amateur driver and used three of his outdoor horses, amongst which two dressage horses and a marathon horse, in his team.

Koos de Ronde used a different horse in the lead of his team Saturday and decided to change back to his regular team for the Final. Koos was now able to change gear all the time and had a better feeling. Unfortunately he had two balls down, but because he put the throttle on after his second mistake, he qualified for the Winning Round: “The first ball was my mistake, but I was happy to be in the Winning Round. I didn’t expect that after two mistakes. I then knew I had to drive fast in order to win, so I took some risks and I had two balls down again. I was hoping for a podium place before the Final and I am pleased that I made it, despite the mistakes.”

Jozsef Dobrovitz (HUN) finished in fourth place, driving a team he had just put together for this Final, including two new horses. Dobrovitz drove clear, but his time just wasn’t fast enough to enter the Top Three.

Title defender IJsbrand Chardon (NED) had bad luck in Competition 1 where he knocked three balls down. Chardon had to make up over seven seconds to Voutaz and even though he gave his best and stayed clear, this wasn’t enough for a podium place.

Wild card driver Fredrik Persson (SWE) felt a little rusty on the first day as he had not been competing for two months, but he drove his team of nice, aged Swedish warm blood horses to the sixth place. The average age of his horses is 21 years old, but they are still fit as ever.

Georg von Stein (GER) was assisted by is compatriot and international four-in-hand driver himself, Christoph Sandmann, as his navigator. Unfortunately Georg had an error of course in the last marathon obstacle, which dropped him to the seventh place.

For more information on FEI World Cup™ Driving, please check the FEI website.

By Cindy Timmer

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

For Gothenburg:

Lotta Amnestal
Lotta.Amnestal@ridsport.se
+ 46 709 79 56 35

Boyd Exell Is the Best in Bordeaux

Boyd Exell (FEI/Pierre Costabadie)

Bordeaux (FRA), 5 February 2017 – Boyd Exell (AUS) has won the eighth and last leg of the FEI World Cup™ Driving in Bordeaux (FRA) after an exciting battle with his Dutch opponents Koos de Ronde and IJsbrand Chardon. This was Boyd’s third win for World Cup points of this season, which puts him in the lead of the final standings before the FEI World Cup™ Driving Final.

For the first time in years, Bordeaux played host to a Leg instead of the Final, but the seven top drivers guaranteed excitement nevertheless. International Level 4 Course Designer Jeroen Houterman (NED) had laid out a very challenging course, in which technique and speed were well combined. According to some, this was the best course of the season so far.

The top three drivers all have great memories of Bordeaux since they all have won the Final here at least once. Koos de Ronde was the first man in the arena in the Winning Round, which took place over a shortened course and in which the drivers started from scratch again. Koos drove an amazing fast and clear round which put the pressure on Ijsbrand and Boyd: “The last two shows I had the feeling that luck was not on my side, but here it all came together for me. I had a very good feeling, especially because I drove faster than IJsbrand this time. I knew it was a difficult course in which it was easy to have a knock down, but I really went for it and all went okay. I will most likely use the four horses I used today in the Final in Gothenburg as well. I definitely feel I have a chance for a podium place with this four-in-hand; they feel very good.”

Reigning World Cup Champion Ijsbrand Chardon was the next driver in the arena, where the enthusiastic spectators filled the stands. Chardon, however, made an error of judgement by taking a turn too short in the first marathon obstacle. It went well, but the longer route would have been faster: “It was more difficult than I thought. Instead of winning two to three seconds, I lost them. I wanted to force Boyd to take the same route, but it didn’t turn out like that. It was a gamble and I lost it, but that is okay.”

Boyd Exell just came back from a short holiday after Leipzig, which had obviously done him good. The reigning World Champion attacked the course and came out nearly three seconds faster than De Ronde: “I like a tougher course and this one suited me well. It gave us the chance to use our power and to show the technical skills of our team. I decided not to take any risks because the positioning in the Final does count. I am now the last driver to go into the arena in the first competition in Gothenburg later this month, which is important. My horses’ fitness is getting better and I am not afraid that they will become too fit.”

Edouard Simonet (BEL) put down an excellent performance in Bordeaux in both competitions. The talented driver drove his team of Arabo Friesian horses clear and smooth through the course and finished in fourth place. The battle for the sixth place in the Final went between Simonet and Georg von Stein (GER). The latter finished in fifth position, which qualified him for the Final. Wild Card drivers Benjamin Aillaud (FRA) and Sébastien Mourier (FRA) claimed the sixth and seventh place.

For the complete results, click here.

The 2016/2017 FEI World Cup™ Driving series now moves on to the Final in Gothenburg (SWE) on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 February 2017.

The FEI World Cup™ Driving competition in Gothenburg will be broadcast live on FEI TV, the FEI’s official video platform, on Sunday 26 February.

For information on Gothenburg, go to www.gothenburghorseshow.com or contact Press Officer Lotta Amnestal, Lotta.Amnestal@ridsport.se, + 46 709 79 56 35.

For more information on FEI World Cup™ Driving, please check the FEI website.

By Cindy Timmer

FEI Media Contacts:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

At Bordeaux:

Pascal Renauldon
p.renauldon@rbpresse.com
+33 608759407

Boyd Exell Dominates Leipzig’s “Pop Concert”

Boyd Exell (Photo: FEI/Stefan Lafrentz)

Leipzig (GER), 22 January 2017 – It was the most exciting battle you could think of at the FEI World Cup™ Driving leg in Leipzig. In the end, Australia’s Boyd Exell won with two tenths of a second advantage in front of Swiss driver Jerome Voutaz. Third place was for Dutchman Ijsbrand Chardon. All three of them showed clear rounds in the drive off.

After seven out of eight legs, Exell and Chardon are now together on the top of the World Cup Ranking list with 27 points. Koos des Ronde following with 25 points. Because Exell had a wild card for Leipzig, second placed Voutaz, earned a full ten points and is now in fifth place with 20 points.

“Leipzig is definitely one of my favourite shows,” explained Exell and added, laughing, “even if the result was closer than I wanted it to be.”

Exell ended up third in the first round after having the fastest time but one ball down in an obstacle. So he was the first to go in the drive off.

“On that position I only had one chance: to drive clear and put some pressure on the other drivers.” It was the third win for Exell in Leipzig after the World Cup final in 2011 and 2016.

Jerome Voutaz was undeniably happy about being second behind the three time World Cup winner from Australia. “I have been second in Leipzig behind Boyd last year and I am very happy to be so close to him this year. That alone is not easy. And next year I will try again to beat him,” said Voutaz with a smile.

Conversely, Ijsbrand Chardon started with bad luck in the driving competitions of Leipzig. During the first day, he had big problems with his reins and finished up last. He then had to go first in the FEI World Cup™ Driving competition on Sunday, where he did a very fast round with one ball down, but ended up second in the first round.

“So I had to wait for about 25 minutes until the first round was over and it was my turn in the drive off. During that time I could only walk my horses and it was not easy to ‘wake them up’ again. I didn’t have such a good feeling in the drive off as in the first round, but nevertheless I am happy.”

Course designer Dr. Wolfgang Asendorf was especially pleased with the seventh leg of the FEI World Cup™ Driving: “I liked the combination of technic and tempo in the course and what the drivers made out of it.  I was absolutely thrilled by the atmosphere during the drive off. It was like being at a pop concert.”

For the complete results and standings for the FEI World Cup™ Driving, click here.

For more information on FEI World Cup™ Driving, please check the FEI website.

By Kim Kreling

FEI Media Contact:
Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Six Times Champion Boyd Exell Triumphs Again at Olympia

Saturday’s sell-out crowd watched admirably as The FEI World Cup™ Driving Leg presented by Dodson & Horrell took to the arena with Boyd Exell demonstrating an unbeatable performance and taking home the title.

Lorenzo De Luca, the Italian rider who is proving such a hit, won the Martin Collins Enterprises Christmas Tree Stakes and is now second in the H&M Leading Rider of Show rankings behind Sweden’s Malin Baryard-Johnsson ahead of H&M Sunday.

Jessica Mendoza was masterful when taking the under-23 title; Laura Renwick notched up Britain’s first senior win and the talented young Irishman Bertram Allen triumphed in the Christmas Masters.

The world’s leading driver Boyd Exell (AUS) showed the enthusiastic full house at Olympia just why he deserves that title. The six times World Cup™ Driving Champion and four times individual gold medallist drove two peerless rounds in the final leg of the FEI World Cup™ Driving to take the win.

Finishing in third place last night in the qualifying round, behind Hungary’s Jozsef Dobrovitz snr and Koos de Ronde (NED), meant Exell took on the course before them. Up until then only one of the four previous drivers – Georg von Stein from Germany – had posted a clear round. Exell showed his intent by driving clear and clipped ten seconds off von Stein’s time. Following him, Dobrovitz and de Ronde both drove clear but Exell took the lead by some three seconds.

The top three competed again over a shortened course, starting from a zero score. Dobrovitz lost time at obstacle one attempting a tight turn and then had a knockdown at obstacle two. De Ronde pulled out all the stops and secured a very fast time but in doing so picked up five penalties.

Exell only had to drive clear but that was no barrier to him putting his foot flat to the floor. He galloped home clear two seconds faster than de Ronde to notch up his third win in FEI World Cup™ Driving qualifiers this season, keeping him in the top of the rankings.

All three top drivers paid tribute to the highly-charged atmosphere at Olympia where the crowd is so enthusiastically engaged with the competition.

“I feel on home ground here,” remarked Exell who moved from the UK to Holland two years ago.

“That does increase the pressure for me but equally we are all lifted by the crowd. The Show is the one we want to be at.” A sentiment endorsed by Dobrovitz competing here for the second year running.

Daniel Naprous (GBR) remarked, “Olympia gives British drivers the most wonderful platform to compete against the best in the world. They are so welcoming to us and we are getting better as a result. It’s a thank-you to Olympia.”

Italian rider Lorenzo De Luca brought the crowd to their feet with a stunning performance in the jump-off of the Martin Collins Enterprises Christmas Tree Stakes.

The Olympia crowd has taken the young Italian to their hearts this week and he did not disappoint, pulling off an audacious round on the white-faced chestnut by Heartbreaker, Halifax van het Kluizebos, to clinch victory from his Stephex Stables team mate Daniel Deusser on Hidalgo VG.

The competition involved a timed first round from which 14 went through to the jump-off. Ben Maher put up a spirited challenge to finish third and best British on the eight-year-old Don Vito.

Lorenzo, a member of the Italian Air Force, is trained by Dutchman Henk Nooren and is based in Brussels with the Stephex Stables. This is his first appearance at Olympia. He will ride Limestone Grey in the Longines FEI World Cup™ Qualifier presented by H&M and Halifax in the Grand Prix.

“Halifax is very fast and careful and he wants to do his best,” said Lorenzo, 29, who is 17th in the Longines FEI World Rankings. “This is a super show. Everyone told me it was great, but now I know. It’s a proper horse show.”

The Italian star is now second in the H&M Leading Rider of the Show rankings, 18 points behind the runaway leader, Sweden’s Malin Baryard-Johnsson, ahead of H&M Sunday.

Laura Renwick secured Britain’s first outright show jumping win of the week in The Shelly Ashman International Ltd, E M Rogers (Transport) Ltd Father Christmas Stakes. This was an accumulator competition in which a clear jump over a fence accrues points, with a final optional joker fence offering a tempting double, its easier counterpart.

Remarkably, Laura has only ridden her winning partner, Con Chilli, for just two months. “She’s usually ridden by Yazmin Pinchen, but I have the ride on her as Yazmin is pregnant,” Laura explained. “The other two horses I have here are also Yazmin’s, but this will only be my second show with those. They are all going really well here and I am very fortunate to have them.”

Laura was also in the final shake up of The Christmas Masters, in which the top seven leading riders of the show so far were eligible to compete.

In this class, riders nominate a fence to go up before they jump. If they jump it clear, the prize pot increases by £500; if not, the prize fund stays the same and the fence is dropped back to its previous height. After each round, all those still clear jump again until the fifth and final round, in which the jump-off is against the clock.

Laura (Dominant H), Sweden’s Malin Baryard-Johnsson (H&M Indiana) and Irishman Bertram Allen (High Valley) remained after four rounds, and went head-to-head for the winner-takes-all purse of £14,000.

Unfortunately, first-drawn Laura finished on four faults, but Bertram posted a fast clear, with a time that Malin could not match.

“It wasn’t an easy class to win. Often, if you get to the fifth round, you’ve won,” said Bertram. “It was difficult to know how fast to go as I was mid-drawn, so I didn’t want to risk going too fast and having a fence down.”

However, the young Irishman rode his round to perfection to take the spoils.

Team GBR Olympic reserve, Jessica Mendoza, has enjoyed a meteoric rise in show jumping, but until now there was one gap in her CV: The Dodson & Horrell and The World Class Programme U23 British Championships at Olympia, the London International Horse Show.

She put that right with a masterful victory on Wan Architect, despite 15-year-old Jack Whitaker, the European Pony Champion, running her close to the wire with a mature performance on the grey stallion Grade A Valentin R, one of three horses he qualified for Olympia.

Yazmin Davis finished third on Zilverster ll, having incurred a time penalty in the jump-off.

Jessica, Jack and Yazmin all jumped clear in the first round and were joined in the jump-off by the fastest of the four-faulters, who knew they had nothing to lose by going for speed and pressurising the top three.

Graham Gillespie set a blistering target with a clear round in 35.86 seconds on Celine, which was good enough to take fourth place, and Millie Allen, a star of the Pony and Junior circuits, was fifth on the stallion Balou Star.

Despite all her experience, Jessica, 21, commented that she felt Kelvin Bywater’s track was “stiff enough” and said: “I watched everyone’s rounds very carefully. Jack did a very smooth round which was hard to gauge so I knew I had to go for it. I’ve been second and third in this class so winning it at last really means a lot.”

Jessica, who has been competing Wan Architect in other classes at Olympia, was 4.54 seconds faster than Jack but his calm, classical approach was impressive and father Michael, who was in the audience for once, was visibly as proud as punch.

“I’m very, very pleased,” Jack said afterwards, “though I should have gone quicker! This is a prestigious class and I’ve been trying to get here for ages.”

Other highlights include Lee Windeatt and Ag Ch Darleyfalls Pipistrelle taking the victory in The Kennel Club Large Senior Dog Agility Finals.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk
0203 176 0355
www.olympiahorseshow.com

Boyd’s Team ‘On Song’ at London Olympia

Boyd Exell (FEI/Trevor Meeks)

London Olympia (GBR), 17 December 2016 – Boyd Exell (AUS) has won the fifth leg of the FEI World Cup™ Driving at London Olympia after an exciting battle with Koos de Ronde (NED) and József Dobrovitz (HUN). Boyd took the top honours, but since he competed with a wild card, the 10 World Cup points went to De Ronde.

Boyd’s team was ‘on song’ in the electric atmosphere of the London International Horse Show at Olympia on Saturday evening. ”I qualified for the winning round in which I was last to go. I knew Dobrovitz and De Ronde had made mistakes, so my plan was to drive smooth. Half way through the course my back stepper told me I was six seconds up, so in the last phase of the course I did not take any risks.” Boyd finished two seconds faster than Koos de Ronde, thanks to a very clever turn in the first marathon obstacle. It is the third time that Boyd has won the FEI World Cup™ Driving competition in Olympia, he also won the editions in 2012 and 2014.

Koos de Ronde’s team went even better than in the first competition, which he had won. Being the last man to go in the first round, Koos knew his opponents had driven clear rounds so he had to be fast and clear. Half way through the course he realized his time was good and decided not to take any risks, which resulted in the second place. The three drivers started from scratch again and Koos went for it in the second round, in which Dutch level 4 Course Designer Johan Jacobs had taken two gates out: “I am very pleased with my team of horses; they went very well. I really went for it, but I had an unfortunate knock down in the second obstacle, so the rest of the course I drove fast but without risk,” said Koos. The 2016 bronze medallist at the World Championships has now picked up 10 World Cup points, which puts him in second position in the provisional standings after his win in Budapest two weeks ago.

József Dobrovitz fully concentrated on finishing in the top three in the first round, and he succeeded. Dobrovitz truly enjoys competing at Olympia and he brought two new horses to London, which only competed in his team twice before: “My right wheeler horse is only young and after three days of competition, he was very tired, but I am very pleased with my horses.” Dobrovitz missed a turn in the second round and had one knock down. Both Dobrovitz and his son József Jr. have now finished their four events – Dobrovitz is in second place in the standings and junior in fourth place. It will depend on the results of the other drivers in the next competitions if they will stay in the top 6 to qualify for the Final in Göteborg at the end of February.

Georg von Stein (GER) drove a smooth and clear round, but was not fast enough to qualify for the winning round and finished in fourth place, ahead of Dobrovitz Jr., who tried a shortcut from obstacle 7 to 8, which cost him a knock down. Second wild card driver Daniel Naprous (GBR) dropped a loop in the first marathon obstacle, turned up his speed but picked up two balls and finished in sixth place. Theo Timmerman (NED) lost precious seconds when he missed a gate in the first marathon obstacle and finished in seventh place.

For the complete results, click here.

The FEI World Cup™ Driving competition in Mechelen will be broadcast live on FEI TV, the FEI’s official video platform, on Friday, 30 December at 21.15 hrs. CET (local time in Belgium, GMT+1 hour).

For information on Mechelen, go to www.jumping-mechelen.com or contact Press Officer Edith de Reys, edith.dereys@skynet.be, +32 475 659 281.

For more information on FEI World Cup™ Driving, please check the FEI website.

By Cindy Timmer

FEI Media Contact:
Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

At London Olympia:
Jo Peck
Press Officer
JoPeck@hpower.co.uk
+44 1753 847 900