Driving fans will be treated to a thrilling Final for the 10th season of the FEI World Cup Driving series in Leipzig, Germany, from 27 April to 1 May 2011.Five of the seven four-in-hand drivers who will start in Leipzig have already won a World Cup round this season, highlighting the incredible level of skills for this year’s FEI World Cup Driving Final.
The finalists will all start from scratch and, as this year’s series was so tightly contested, it won’t be until the very last second of the Final on the afternoon of Sunday 1 May that the new World Cup Champion will be announced.
British-based Australian driver Boyd Exell – double World Cup champion and gold medallist at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky last year – will be aiming for a hat trick in Leipzig. Exell has won three out of the six competitions this season and was runner-up three times, but he will be facing up to the strongest ever indoor opponents.
Dutch driver Koos de Ronde, runner-up in the 2010 final and winner at this year’s FEI World Cup Driving competition in Mechelen for the third time in a row, has his sights set on the overall series title once again. De Ronde is a very fast driver and will certainly give Exell a run for his money in Leipzig.
Boyd Exell is back on track after winning the fifth qualifier of this season’s FEI World Cup Driving in Geneva. Exell was too strong for IJsbrand Chardon and Tomas Eriksson and claimed his only victory rewarded with World Cup points this season. This is Boyd Exell’s third victory at Geneva’s Palexpo after his win in 2008 and the series’ Final last April.
Leader of the standings After his wild card wins in Hannover and Stuttgart for which he did not receive World Cup points, Exell claimed ten points in Stockholm where he came second behind wild card driver Tomas Eriksson. In Budapest, it was Switzerland’s Werner Ulrich who beat the Australian World Cup and World four-in-hand Driving Champion. Thanks to his victory in Geneva, Exell has taken over the lead in the standings and has secured his ticket for the FEI World Cup Driving Final in Leipzig at the end of April 2011. Exell will start once more this season in Mechelen, Belgium, where he will compete with his third wild card for the season.
The older the faster Boyd Exell competed with the same four horses in all five competitions he has done so far. The Britain-based Australian title holder has been travelling with seven horses in order to be able to replace one if any injuries occurred during the long trips between World Cup events. But the geldings, which on average are 17-and-a-half years old, went faster and faster at every competition. Boyd noticed this in Budapest last week and cut down their feed supplies to help them slow down.
History repeated itself in Stockholm on Sunday when local driver Tomas Eriksson beat favourite Boyd Exell on home soil in the third leg of the FEI World Cup Driving.
Exactly one year ago at the same venue, Eriksson triumphed and this year he was again too strong for the Australian FEI World Cup Driving Champion. However, Exell still claimed the full ten points because Eriksson drove with a wild card. Hungary’s Jozsef Dobrovitz came third in the Ericsson Globen Arena.
For the first time in the history of the FEI World Cup Driving in Stockholm, a winning round for the top three drivers was included in the event, which resulted in two exciting rounds. The drivers revelled in the competition and commented that they hoped next year they would be able to win a Volkswagen, like those competing in Jumping and Dressage in Stockholm.
Boyd Exell (AUS) flew to his second victory of this season in the FEI World Cup Driving competition in Stuttgart. The World Cup and World champion drove an impeccable and extremely fast round with his new indoor marathon carriage and new harness, cheered by the enthusiastic crowd in the Schleyer Halle.
Dutch force Dutch drivers Koos de Ronde and IJsbrand Chardon qualified for the Winning Round and their main goal was to put the pressure on Boyd Exell, whose parents had come over from Australia to watch their son perform. Kentucky silver medallist Chardon set a fast time but knocked a ball down, giving his compatriot Koos de Ronde some air. De Ronde however was a bit confused by the different course in the Winning Round and drove an extra circle in the marathon obstacle. But being a true sportsman, De Ronde decided to keep driving as fast as he could and beat Chardon’s score by almost three seconds.
EXELL PUTS THE PRESSURE ON IN HANNOVER by Cindy Timmer
Hannover (GER) 31 October 2010 – Australian Boyd Exell laid down a marker for his rivals as the FEI World Cup Driving season got underway in Germany.
The Double World Cup Champion and recent World Four-in-Hand Champion won the first competition of the season in Hannover, finishing ahead of Hungary’s József Dobrovitz and IJsbrand Chardon from the Netherlands.
The 10th season of the FEI World Cup Driving kicked off traditionally during the German Classics show where the drivers and their horses received a warm welcome from the enthusiastic spectators at the near-capacity Hannover Messe Halle.
New World Championship Record for Exell by Cindy Timmer
Australia’s Boyd Exell set a new World Championship record this afternoon with his team of black geldings, owned by Hungary’s Vincze Tamas. Exell put down a faultless dressage test, which was awarded with a magnificent score of 30.08 penalty points. The previous World Record was set by Chester Weber (USA), who scored 32.13 penalty points at the 2008 World four-in-hand Driving Championships in Beesd (NED).
Exell, who won the CAIO Aachen and Royal Windsor Horse Show 2010 with this same team, has now taken over the lead in the standings from IJsbrand Chardon (NED) and Chester Weber (USA) who both set a score of 35.97 penalty points on the first dressage day. USA’s Tucker Johnson and Dutch driver Theo Timmerman, who both finished dressage with a score of 40.19, are tied in fourth place.
17 July 2010 – Boyd Exell (AUS) today notched up his third individual victory at Aachen, the most prestigious international Four-in-Hand Driving competition, to add to his wins in 2003 and 2009. The Australian had a head start in the dressage and held onto his lead throughout.
Four times World Champion IJsbrand Chardon (NED) finished second, ahead of Christoph Sandmann (GER), and it was the Netherlands that won the Nations Cup ahead of hosts Germany, with Switzerland in third.
The CAIO and World Cup Qualifying competition in Aachen was run in a different format. The Four-in-Hand drivers drove the regular dressage test on Thursday, followed by the obstacle driving competition on Friday. The marathon, broadcast live on television, was run as the final phase to bring the combined driving competition to a dramatic finish.