Photo Caption: Boyd Exell on his way to victory in the warm up round of the FEI World Cup™ Driving Final in Leipzig. Photo: FEI/Rinaldo de Craen
Leipzig (GER) 29 April 2011
FEI WORLD CUP™ DRIVING 2010/2011
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Title defender Boyd Exell from Australia has won the warm up round of the FEI World Cup™ Driving Final in Leipzig this evening. The current four-in-hand World Champion was the only driver who finished the course in a clear round. Sweden’s Tomas Eriksson came second driving his brand new marathon carriage. Dutch driver Koos de Ronde finished third.
The competitors were all a bit ring rusty after a break of several months. Some drivers competed in the last World Cup competition in Bordeaux at the start of February; others had an even longer break after the show in Mechelen at the end of December.
Wild card replacement
Home driver Georg von Stein replaced wild card driver Christian Plücker who unfortunately had to withdraw only two days ago because of two injured horses. Plücker had won the special indoor competition at the German Equestrian Centre in Warendorf in February and had herewith claimed the wild card. Von Stein finished second and was therefore the first candidate to replace Plücker. Von Stein had kept on training his horses so it was not difficult for him to prepare his team for his first ever World Cup start. Von Stein finished fifth in tonight’s competition, behind Switzerland’s Werner Ulrich.
Both Hungary’s Jozsef Dobrovitz and Dutchman IJsbrand Chardon made unusual mistakes. Chardon took the C-gate in one of the marathon type obstacles from the wrong side, which made him drop to the sixth place. Dobrovitz knocked four balls down in the course, designed by German World Championship course designer Dr. Wolfgang Asendorf.
Koos de Ronde also made a mistake by knocking over one of the gates before he was supposed to take it. But the team gold medallist of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Kentucky kept the speed up and set the fastest time, which made him finish third. Tomas Eriksson only received his new marathon carriage this morning but despite the little testing time, Eriksson flew through the course only knocking one ball down.
Boyd Exell drove a safe round, using his old marathon carriage instead of his new indoor carriage, which is now been adjusted for outdoor use as well. While Boyd’s team got fitter every time until his last start in Mechelen, he now concentrated on keeping his team calm which resulted in a clear victorious round.
Boyd Exell: “My team in Mechelen was so fit, it felt like water skiing! I am very pleased with my team in Leipzig, I kept them on the ground. This was just a warm up round so I am not getting too excited about it.”
Tomas Eriksson:“I am happy with my horses. I used my horse Speedy in the lead again. I normally only use him at outdoor shows but this is the third time this season that he has been in the lead of my team and he does a great job. My new carriage went well, I sometimes even forgot to use the breaks!”
Koos de Ronde: “I was not paying attention myself which was rather stupid, but I am convinced I will do better on Sunday in the World Cup Final. At the Final in Geneva last year, we had the same situation. All drivers are a bit ring rusty but the horses are in good shape even after a long break and they will be back in shape quickly.
Tomas Eriksson -Swedish
Results warm up round CAI-W Leipzig 2011:
1. Boyd Exell (Aus) 125,63 (0)
2. Tomas Eriksson (Swe) 129,53 (5)
3. Koos de Ronde (Ned) 140,08 (20)
4. Werner Ulrich (Sui) 143,41 (10)
5. Georg von Stein (Ger) 148,31 (15)
6. Ijsbrand Chardon (Ned) 155,51 (25)
7. Jozsef Dobrovitz (Hun) 167,66