|Photo Caption: Boyd Exel (AUS) was in top form in Hannover (GER) where he won the first leg of the FEI World Cup™ Driving’s 12th season ©Rinaldo de Craen/FEI.|
by Cindy Timmer
Boyd Exell drove a very fast and clear first round and challenged Chardon who followed him in the arena. Chardon drove his team of Lipizzaner horses at high speed throughout the course, but had one knockdown and was unable to beat Exell’s time.
It was all a matter of preparation. Exell finished fourth in the first competition on Saturday evening and took his time on Sunday morning to prepare his wheeler and leader horses well for the World Cup competition. Boyd drove an experienced team of horses including the 20-year old leader horse Bill who will now get a rest until the Final in February 2013.
IJsbrand Chardon’s horses are fast but they keep knocking balls down which sets the team back. Chardon has been training with a new Lipizzaner at home for the past three weeks and wanted to drive it in Hannover in order to test the speed of the team. But the horse was injured only a few days before the start of the season and Chardon has had to postpone the test. The Dutch driver was nevertheless pleased with his horses and left the arena feeling good.
All drivers agreed that the course in Hannover, designed by World Cup course designer Dr Wolfgang Asendorf, was very tricky. The top favourites had all several knockdowns on the first night and Asendorf decided to slightly modify the course to make it more fluent. Tomas Eriksson, who was the first one in, was informed only a few minutes before the Winning Round that the course had been shortened. This change made a top performance difficult. Eriksson did his very best but knocked one ball down and finished in third place.
Wild card driver Daniel Schneiders (GER) won the first competition on Saturday evening, but it did not go so well for him today. He knocked over an element in the marathon obstacle and had several knockdowns, which caused him to finish in sixth place. “I have a lot to learn,” said the former pony pair and pony team driver afterwards.
- Boyd Exell (AUS) 214,48
- IJsbrand Chardon (NED) 231,22
- Tomas Eriksson (SWE) 235,69
- Koos de Ronde (NED) 130,33
- Georg von Stein (GER) 141,05
- Daniel Schneiders (GER) 178,91
- Boyd Exell (AUS) 10
- IJsbrand Chardon (NED) 7
- Tomas Eriksson (SWE) 5
- Koos de Ronde (NED) 3
- Georg von Stein (GER) 2