Ijsbrand Chardon overcame adversity to triumph in the marathon phase of the driving at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games today.
The police are investigating after Ijsbrand’s carriage was vandalised last night — the seat cushions were slashed and there was also interference with the oil.
Fellow competitor Boyd Exell offered to lend Ijsbrand his carriage, as they use the same make, but Ijsbrand was able to get his into order, albeit with a delayed start time. The chef d’equipes all agreed that Ijsbrand could start at 2.10pm as the final driver of the day, rather than at his scheduled time of 1.20pm.
The Dutch driver then managed to record the fastest time in three of the eight obstacles, leaving him less than two points behind Australia’s Boyd Exell, who finished third on the marathon to keep top spot.
“It was a little like indoor driving,” said Boyd of tackling Richard Nicoll’s open, flowing course. “While going fast, you had to keep the carriage tight to the obstacles — going wide loses you time. My horses were machines, they just did it on their own.”
America’s Tucker Johnson has moved up from fourth equal overnight to take third, while team-mate Chester Weber suffered disappointment today when his right wheeler stepped into the right leader’s trace at obstacle seven, and he had to put a groom down, which is penalised as well as taking time. He dropped from second equal after dressage to 19th.
In the team standings, the Netherlands has pulled away from America while Sweden is in third.
Log back on tomorrow for a final update on the driving at WEG, full report in H&H next week, out 14 October.