Hungary’s Zoltan Lázar scored his first-ever international four-in-hand victory at at a CAIO when winning at Breda, the Netherlands, ahead of Werner Ulrich (SWI) and the best Dutch driver at this prestigious competition, Mark Weusthof, but the Dutch team once again proved, invincible, staying well ahead of Switzerland and Sweden throughout the Nations Cup competition.
Twenty-eight drivers from 10 nations started at the beautiful Prinsenhoeve Estate in Breda, an outstanding venue which boasts the only Dutch Nations Cup competition in the history of Dutch driving. Breda has also been host to a number of other equestrian events this year, such as the FEI World Para-Equestrian Driving Championships, pony Driving Championships, international and national Eventing competitions as well as national Jumping and Dressage fixtures.
Other Vehicles and Equipment
Breda was the last outing for the top drivers before the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™. The carriages and other equipment of the Dutch, German and Swiss teams have already been shipped to Kentucky and most of the drivers therefore started with borrowed vehicles and harnesses. Drivers like Koos de Ronde and Theo Timmerman from the Netherlands competed with different horses in Breda to save their best horses for Kentucky.
German Champion Wins Dressage Phase
The Dressage phase was won by Christoph Sandmann (GER), who was recently crowned German National Champion for the fifth time in his career. Home driver Theo Timmerman came second with a new wheeler horse, which he used for the first time at a competition. His compatriot Koos de Ronde was pleased with his third place, using two other horses in the wheel of his four-in-hand. First into the arena, Zoltan Lázar ended the day in fourth.
The marathon phase, designed by Dutch World Championship course designer Johan Jacobs, included eight challenging and technical obstacles. Mark Weusthof is the Dutch reserve driver for Kentucky and displayed his marathon skills again in Breda. After his international marathon wins in Zelhem (NED) and Riesenbeck (GER), Mark was again the fastest in Breda. World Championship competitor Tomas Eriksson came second, ahead of the young German competitor Michael Brauchle.
Zoltan Lázar nearly fell off his carriage at the fourth obstacle when he hit a post, but was quickly back on track and took the lead in the standings. All-round driver Werner Ulrich from Switzerland drove his team of Lusitano horses to fourth place in the marathon and climbed to second place in the standings after the dressage and marathon phases.
A very special visitor closely followed the performances of the drivers. Her majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands paid a visit to Breda Hippique and enjoyed watching the marathon, accompanied by two of her daughters.
The close scores between the drivers in the top of the standings resulted in an exciting cones competition. Only four competitors drove a clear round within the time allowed. Lázar was one of them and he was a picture of happiness as he passed the finish line. Ulrich only had a time penalty and remained in second place while Mark Weusthof moved up from sixth to third thanks to a clear round.
FEI World Cup™ Qualifier Standings
With just one more competition to go, the standings are nearly complete. Lázar has taken over the lead from IJsbrand Chardon (NED), who did not compete in Breda as he is in his final preparations for Kentucky. After the CAI-A Donaueschingen from 16 – 19 September, the drivers qualified for the 2010-2011 FEI World Cup™ Driving season will be announced.
Zoltan Lázar (HUN): “I am very pleased with my horses. I used the two Lipizzaner horses with which I competed at the FEI World Pair Driving Championship in 2009 in the wheel and I used one new dressage horse. I knew everything was still possible after the dressage because the differences were so small. In the marathon, my horses were a little tired so I could not drive at my normal speed. But in the cones they were fit again, they really work well together and I trust them and they trust me. I am very happy that I have won in Breda, this is my first CAIO win ever.”
Werner Ulrich (SUI): “My horses still need to be more secure in dressage, but they are improving with every competition. In the marathon, they were very fit and I drove the obstacles as I had planned to. I will use the same horses at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Kentucky.”
Mark Weusthof (NED): “I was one of the first drivers to start in the marathon and I really went for it. I set very fast times so my fellow competitors had a challenge. I only had a small mistake in the last obstacle but I solved that quickly. I am very happy with my third place and since I am not traveling to Kentucky, I will start in Donaueschingen to win more FEI World Cup™ points.”
Final results CAIO Breda 2010 (individual):
1. Zoltan Lázar(HUN) 154.47
2. Werner Ulrich (SUI) 156.79
3. Mark Weusthof (NED)159.63
4. Tomas Eriksson (SWE) 160.92
5. Michael Brauchle (GER) 161.32
6. Fredrik Persson (SWE) 161.32
7. Christoph Sandmann (GER) 162.26
8. Koos de Ronde (NED) 164.98
9. Daniel Würgler (SUI) 165.14
10. Herman ter Harmsel (NED) 168.49
11. Theo Timmerman (NED) 178.64
Final results CAIO Breda 2010 (Nations Cup):
1. The Netherlands 309.51
2. Switzerland 321.93
3. Sweden 322.24
4. Hungary 337.92
5. Germany 432.29
6. Great Britain 413.86
FEI World Cup™ qualifier standings after 13 of 14 competitions
1 Zoltan Lázar HUN 84
2 Ijsbrand Chardon NED 77
3 Werner Ulrich SUI 69
3 Koos de Ronde NED 69
5 Tomas Eriksson SWE 66
6 Theo Timmerman NED 63
7 Boyd Exell AUS 62
8 Fredrik Persson SWE 60
9 Daniel Würgler SUI 59
10 Mark Weusthof NED 56
Caption:Zoltan Lázar (HUN) scored his first ever CAIO win when claiming victory at Breda in the Netherlands ahead of Werner Ulrich (SWI) and Mark Weusthof (NED). (Photo: Rinaldo de Craen)