Australian Boyd Exell, in a preliminary to the World Pairs Driving Championships to be held in Germany in August, won the 2001 International Saumur Driving Event held 13 to 15 July in Saumur, France. Driving his two 16 hand black Gelderlander horses trained by Sarah Garnett, Deemster & Julius, Exell scored the best dressage test on Friday to take a commanding lead over thirty-one European pairs drivers.
Exell stretched his lead to nearly 20 points by winning the rain-shortened marathon on Saturday, driving a technically proficient and quick marathon. Hazard number 6, was closed by the officials, after torrential rains the previous night had made the hazard with a steep bank too dangerous.
A double-clear perfect cones round, one of only two in the class, in front of more than 10,000 spectators which filled the Prince Albert arena of the Hippodrome, sealed the victory for Exell, who is based in England in order to compete internationally.
American, Chester Weber, another of the young breed of international drivers, was not as fortunate. Weber saw his two-point lead in the horse teams class evaporate when he picked up 9 penalties in the final phase, allowing Holland’s Harry DeRuyter to win, with Swiss drivers Daniel Wurgler and Werner Ulrich finishing second and third. Weber had the best score in dressage, and was able to hold the lead after the marathon that was won by George Knell of Germany. But one cone and four time penalties dropped Weber from first to a fifth place overall finish.