Exell unbeatable in Stuttgart
Australia's Boyd Exell was unbeatable in the Stuttgart German Masters Driving four-in-hand competition last weekend. The defending World Cup Champion has started the season off with two remarkable wins.
Stuttgart was the second FEI World Cup Driving competition for the 2009-2010 season. Exell was also victorious in the first competition in Hannover (GER) and now has taken a strong lead in the point score. Exell is on 20 points ahead of Koos de Ronde (NED) with 14 points. With two more events to go, he is well on his way to the final in Geneva in April 2010.
"The key to my success really is that I have experienced and careful horses. I also owe this victory to my groom Michelle, who saved my bacon when I wanted to go the wrong way in the course. We form a very good team," said Exell of his win in Stuttgart.
Second place-getter in Stuttgart Koos de Ronde commented "My goal was to qualify for the winning round. It was a shame I had one knock down, but Boyd was too far in the lead anyway to be able to beat him. I will keep on chasing him however!"
There are eight events in the Driving World Cup series, which runs from November until April, each being hosted by a different European country.
A total of 10 drivers are selected each year to compete in the World Cup, according to their performance in a number of qualifying competitions. Each driver chooses 4 World Cup venues at which he will compete. This gives a starting field of 5 drivers at each event, which is further supplemented by one or two "wild-card" drivers from the hosting country.
A five-time British National Champion, Exell, 37, is originally from Bega, NSW but now lives in Leicestershire, England with wife Preetha, son James and daughter Olivia.
2010 promises to be a big year for Exell and his team. In addition to defending his FEI World Cup title Exell will also be aiming to represent Australia at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky.