FEI World Cup Driving 2012/13 London Olympia – Boyd Exell 1st Place


Boyd Exell was the man to beat at the inaugural edition of the FEI World Cup™ Driving in London Olympia (GBR), but the Australian had no intention of letting anyone past him. The four-time FEI World Cup™ champion galloped to victory in the sixth leg of the FEI World Cup™ Driving, the Extreme Driving Class, at Olympia with a brilliant performance from his amazing team of horses. Theo Timmerman (NED) finished in the second place, just ahead of his fellow countryman Koos de Ronde.

Dutch O-course designer Johan Jacobs had laid out a nice but difficult enough course in the tight Olympia arena, including a bridge and two marathon type obstacles with five gates each. Jacobs had adjusted his course to the size of the arena, which resulted in a fluent, speedy and safe course, very much appreciated by the competitors. The Grand Hall at Olympia was packed with enthusiastic spectators who were treated to a spectacular show by the seven competitors.

Inaugural competition
After successfully organising a test event in 2011 with a quartet of four-in-hand drivers, the Organising Committee of the London Olympia Horse Show had plenty of support for an official FEI World Cup™ Driving competition this year. The OC made a lot of effort to accommodate the seven competitors and their horses and made sure that the public, more used to seeing Jumping and Dressage here, was well informed too. “Our spectators don’t know much about driving, but once they’ve seen the Extreme Driving class, they’ll be hooked on driving forever,” Event Director Simon Brooks Ward said. And, judging by the enthusiasm of the crowd, he’s right!

Pushing on
Boyd Exell was last to go in the FEI World Cup™ Driving competition and had monitored the scores of his fellow competitors closely. Boyd had his tactics well planned and his team of horses were ready to put down another excellent performance. Boyd could afford to drive a bit slower and have one ball down, but his horses felt good and he decided to push them on for a brilliantly driven first round. Both Theo Timmerman and Koos de Ronde tried really hard to close the gap, but they both had knockdowns, which gave Boyd even more advantage in the Winning Round. The four times FEI World Cup™ Driving Champion had two unusual knockdowns, but it wasn’t enough to deny him victory in front of the very enthusiastic home crowd.

Preserving the team
Boyd Exell was not planning to use his top horse Bill again until the Final in Bordeaux, but with two very competitive shows, Boyd made the decision to use Bill again at Budapest and Olympia. Boyd did opt not to use Spitfire though, in order to preserve his team for the ultimate performance at the Final when he will be aiming for an incredible fifth title.

Ten points for second
Being the wild card driver in London Olympia, Boyd did not receive World Cup points, but has kept his second place in the standings behind IJsbrand Chardon (NED), who did not compete at Olympia. The maximum 10 points went to Theo Timmerman, who really needed these points in order to qualify for the Final in Bordeaux. Timmerman has completed his four events and is currently in third place in the standings. With his second place at Olympia, he has now guaranteed himself a ticket to the Final. Theo had one knock down in the first round, which he didn’t even notice. First to go in the Winning Round, Theo decided to go for it and put down a very fast time. The swingletrees of his carriage accidentally knocked a ball off the marathon type obstacle, but Theo was very pleased with the way his horses went and went back to the warm-up arena to watch his compatriot Koos de Ronde drive.

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