Boyd Exell (AUS) has proved once again to be in a class of his own in the FEI World Cup™ Driving competition in Stockholm. The six times FEI World Cup™ Champion went into the second round with over 19 seconds advantage to József Dobrovitz (HUN) and passed the finish line with an even larger advantage to his Hungarian fellow competitor. József Dobrovitz jr. (HUN) finished on a humble third place, only 1,5 seconds behind his father.
After his disappointing performance during the first competition on Friday evening, World Cup debutant Edouard Simonet (BEL) drove a very secure and safe round, only picking up a ball in the corner at the tricky 9th gate. Simonet finished in the fourth place, ahead of wild card driver Fredrik Persson (SWE). The home driver had to use his spare horse, which on Friday was not focussed at the right time. The horse insurance salesman hit one ball too many to qualify for the second round, which took place over a shortened course. Germany’s Rainer Duen picked up three balls and was placed sixth in his second World Cup competition of this season.
The enthusiastic spectators in the Friends arena cheered the six drivers in the technical course, laid out by Sweden’s level 3 Course Designer Dan Henriksson. Both rounds times were added together, but this didn’t affect Exell’s tactics. The Netherlands-based driver was the only one who drove a clear round and the one knock down in the second round did not endanger his leading position at all: “My horses were very excited when they came from the warm up arena into the main arena. I tried to slow them down, but they wouldn’t let me, so I just went very fast. In the second round again, their rhythm was excellent and I decided to go with the team. If I try to slow them down, I make mistakes. Compared to Stuttgart, I had my concentration back again because my father is back home after an operation.”
József Dobrovitz started his World Cup season in Stockholm, a show that he likes very much: “I was very pleased with my horses, but I made a mistake myself. I missed a gate in the first marathon obstacle, which cost me much time.” Dobrovitz then didn’t want to concentrate too much on gate 9 and knocked this one over, as well as a ball in the linear obstacle.
Dobrovitz’ son József Dobrovitz jr. also started his season in the Friends Arena, where he had to drive with an alternative set of leader horses after his experienced horse Cselentano was declared unfit to compete in the first horse inspection. The spare horse that he used had never experienced an indoor show before, but junior found the right pace and qualified for the second round. Unfortunately his reins went around his fingers in the second marathon obstacle and later on his whip got caught in the harness, which caused one ball to drop: “My horses were very good today, the leaders really started to get together. We compete in Budapest next week and I am not sure that I want to change again!”
Results FEI World Cup™ Driving, Stockholm (SWE), 27 November 2016:
Boyd Exell (AUS) 246,03
József Dobrovitz (HUN) 283,17
József Dobrovitz jr. (HUN) 284,67
Edouard Simonet (BEL) 154,80
Fredrik Persson (SWE) 156,17
Rainer Duen (GER) 177,84
Results in detail can be viewed here