Chardon eyes World Cup title after latest win

September 10, 2009

Dutch driver IJsbrand Chardon won the second to last FEI World Cup Qualifier at home soil in Breda in The Netherlands. His teammate Koos de Ronde came second, and together with third Dutch driver Theo Timmerman, the Dutch team won the nations competition with a huge advantage over Germany and France. Sweden's Tomas Eriksson moved up to third as Boyd Exell from Australia did not have his best weekend in Breda and finished fourth.

The very windy conditions in Breda on dressage demanded great concentration from the horses. The organisation had put stones on the dressage arena to prevent it from being blown away. Boyd Exell won the dressage, driving a very accurate test with his team of black geldings owned by his Hungarian sponsor Vincze Tamas and was placed first by four of the five international judges. IJsbrand Chardon kept the gap between Boyd and himself limited to two penalty points, he placing second. Riesenbeck winner Theo Timmerman took the third place.

For the first time in The Netherlands, the spectators could follow the dressage scoring of the judges live on a scoreboard. The board was placed behind one of the judges' cabins to make sure the judges could not be influenced. The spectators could comfortably watch the dressage and see the live scoring from the stands, which made the dressage even more interesting for the driving fans in Breda.

IJsbrand Chardon took revenge for his second place in dressage by winning the heavy marathon. Dutch international course designer Johan Jacobs, who was recently promoted to FEI O-status, was responsible for the course. The long and technical obstacles with many sharp turns demanded great skill from both horses and drivers. The competitors had to pay attention from the first to the last gate. French marathon talent Thibault Coudry, who won the marathon in Saumur and in Conty this season, was the fastest in the obstacles. Penalty points in the walk section however prevented Coudry from a Top Five placing in the marathon. Jozsef Dobrovitz from Hungary set the fastest time in the first obstacle and was determined to set some more fast times, but his left wheeler unfortunately fell on the way to the finish in the third obstacle and Dobrovitz had to retire. The horse only suffered minor injuries. Boyd Exell and his team came 12th, which dropped them to the second place in the standings after dressage and marathon. Koos de Ronde and Tomas Eriksson had their teams working together well in Breda and took the second and third place in this phase of the only team competition in The Netherlands.

The final obstacle driving competition turned out to be decisive. Dutch driver Koos de Ronde was third last to start and he drove the only double clear round of the day, steering his team of Dutch harness horse geldings through the gates with great precision. This put the pressure on Exell, who was unable to deal with this and knocked three balls losing his chances to a podium place. Last starter IJsbrand Chardon had a big advantage over De Ronde and Exell and the small mistake at the eleventh gate could not prevent him from winning his 16th victory at the CAIO Breda.

The Dutch team took the lead in the dressage and did not give this away during the competition. After winning the team gold at the World Championships in Beesd in 2008 and the nations competition in Aachen 2009, the Dutch team looks unbeatable at the moment. The drivers and the chefs d'equipe are all looking forward to next season to battle again in the various nations competitions with the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky as the big final.