The world’s number one horse four-in-hand driver, Boyd Exell from Australia, showed yet again why he has held this title consistently over the last decade. In the sunshine that succeeded yesterday’s rain, he steered his team of black horses – three Gelderlanders and an Oldenburg mare – to his ninth CAIO4* Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix victory at Royal Windsor Horse Show.
With nearly 20 penalties in hand after yesterday’s marathon, the result seemed never in doubt, but the cones course still has to be driven and course designer, Johan Jacobs from the Netherlands, had set a course that presented a strong challenge to all drivers. Last to go, Exell had one ball down and collected 0.33 time penalties but he remained the comfortable and much applauded winner.
Edouard Simonet from Belgium, a protegee of Exell’s and winner of the marathon section here last year, retained the second place which he had claimed after the marathon yesterday, his team of black Arab cross Friesians looking ever more confident. Third place – and an outstanding result – went to Bram Chardon, the 25-year-old son of Ijsbrand Chardon, the Netherlands’ leading driver over two decades; he moved ahead of his father in the cones phase at this, his Royal Windsor debut in horse four-in-hands.
Switzerland’s Beat Schenk, leader after the marathon phase, retained his winning position in horse pairs, to record his fourth Royal Windsor victory. The ten-time Swiss champion pairs a black German-bred horse with a grey Lippizaner; with them he also took the bronze medal at last year’s World Horse Pairs Championship at Lipica, Slovenia. Germany claimed second and third places in this class with Sebastian Warneck and Dennis Schneiders, moving up from third and fifth respectively.
In pony four-in-hands Great Britain’s hopes were high when young driver, Roger Campbell’s excellent marathon put him into second place overall. In third place behind him, Tinne Bax from Belgium, applied all possible pressure in the cones phase by posting the only double clear of the class. With less than one penalty between them, Roger could have neither driving nor time penalties; sadly his one cone down dropped him to third. The winner was Jan de Boer, whose team of Welsh ponies rose to the occasion to give the Dutchman his seventh Royal Windsor victory.