British-based Australian driver Boyd Exell won his first world title today at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, rounding off his pillar-to-post victory with just 3.52 time-faults in the cones phase.
“When I walked the course I thought it was good for us,” he said. “Like the cross-country it was a touch easy so it was a good course to be in the lead on.”
Dutch driver Ijsbrand Chardon — whose carriage was vandalised before the marathon — took the silver, while America’s Tucker Johnson celebrated his retirement with his first individual medal, a bronze.
“I had a momentary lapse of concentration after I’d had the ball down at 17, but to be able to hold everything together and get the bronze as I come to the end of my career means everything to me,” he said.
The Netherlands confirmed their team gold, with the USA taking silver, but Sweden, having been third overnight, suffered a severe disappointment when Tomas Eriksson was eliminated for an error of course. As Sweden only had two team members — a driving team consists of two or three competitors, with two scores to count — they dropped completely out of the team standings.
Germany came through to take the bronze, led by Christoph Sandmann, fourth individually.
The cones phase was marred by problems with the timing equipment, which led to a delay of around an hour during the competition.
Read more about the damage to Ijsbrand’s carriage, the delays during the cones and the rest of the driving competition in H&H out next week, 14 October.