World Cup driving win to IJsbrand Chardon

May 22, 2009

Four-time World Champion and reserve World Cup Champion 2008-2009 IJsbrand Chardon showed his class to win the first qualifying event for the new World Cup driving season, at the Royal Windsor Horse Show last weekend.

The Dutch driver beat World Cup Champion Boyd Exell from Australia in the last phase of the competition, which featured 24 international four-in-hand drivers. Dutch course designer Johan Jacobs, who recently received the status of Official International Course Designer, was responsible for the course in Windsor for the very first time in his career. Despite the rain, Windsor enjoyed a very good show with fantastic sport.

Dutch driver IJsbrand Chardon and his winning four-in-hand team at Windsor.
Chardon competed with his World Championship team and impressed the judges in the dressage. "My team went really well, some people even said that they went better than at the World Championship in Beesd last year," Chardon said.

The reigning World Champion made two small errors in the marathon and came in fourth. After dressage and marathon, Chardon was second in the standings, behind Boyd Exell (AUS) who had won the marathon in an impressive way. By finishing the very difficult cones course with just 1.13 penalty points for exceeding the time, Chardon put more pressure on Exell. Exell however knocked two balls down and dropped to the second place in the final standings. Chardon was congratulated by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and His Royal Highness Prince Philip.

Exell drove the team of black German bred warmbloods, owned by his Hungarian sponsor. The bronze medallist from Beesd flew through the eight obstacles and won the marathon despite two knockdowns in the same obstacle. However, while driving towards the finish of the last obstacle, the water splash, one of his horses fell. It got up by itself and was checked directly after the obstacle's finish line. Exell completed the marathon, but the officials did not accept the incident and sanctioned him with a yellow card.

Koos de Ronde (NED), who came third in the FEI World Cup Driving Final in February, finished third in Windsor. "I was somewhat disappointed with my dressage scores, I felt my test deserved better," he said. De Ronde started off on 13 penalty points behind Chardon, but he soon discovered that the obstacles designed by his compatriot Jacobs suited him very well. "The obstacles were very nice, some were technical and in some we were invited to drive long lines, which was nice for the crowd to watch," he pointed out. Twenty-nine knockdowns were placed in the eight marathon obstacles, which made the competitors drive with more respect in order to avoid extra penalty points. Koos' gold winning teammate from Beesd Mark Weusthof drove an impressive marathon and came second in this phase, just behind Exell.

By taking four places in the Top Six, the Dutch have taken most points in the first World Cup Qualifying event of this season. Switzerland's Werner Ulrich finished fifth, just behind Theo Timmerman.

The second World Cup Qualifying event takes place at the CAIO in Vecses, Hungary from 4 to 6 June. The last Qualifier is in Donaueschingen, Germany, from 17 to 20 September. The four best results are counted and the Top Ten after Donaueschingen qualify for the FEI World Cup Driving season 2009-2010.