Australia secure 2020 Jumping quota, Exell wins Driving World crown
24 September 2018
EQUESTRIAN - JUMPING: The Australian Jumping Team secured the nation a Tokyo 2020 Olympic quota on Saturday after finishing sixth in the team competition at the FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Tryon, while Boyd Exell won the overall Driving World Games title on Sunday.
Saturday's Team result was the best performance ever by an Australian Jumping Team in WEG history.
Chef d’Équipe Todd Hinde was elated after the day’s result;
“We are living on a high at the moment," he said. “All four of the boys have ridden textbook rounds over the three days. To have all riders jump 8 faults or less every day I couldn’t ask for more,” he said.
Rowan Willis and his horse Blue Movie were the top scoring individual Australian pair in the second Jumping competition, recording a total of 8.31 in 11th place individually to qualify through to Sunday's final. They went on to finish on a score of 20.3 after two rails in round two of the individual finals and placed 12th overall.
“The team morale is awesome, it’s a great team and unit of blokes and they all ride great," Willis said after the second round on Saturday.
“[Blue Movie] was incredible she knew what to do today there was no way she was going to touch one. She wasn’t going to do anything wrong for me today.”
“To qualify for Tokyo is such a big relief and the boys are pretty excited. For a lot of people including us it was unexpected but we have four world class jockeys. We believe in our horses and rode really well today."
Billy Raymont and Oaks Redwood placed 24th in Sunday's individual final, after deciding to retire following some difficulties on course in round 1 of the Individual Final, however Raymont said Saturday's sixth-place Team performance and Tokyo 2020 quota was rewarding enough.
“It’s amazing, that’s what our whole life’s work is about. That two minutes in the arena was something else and that horse is something else.
“We have our whole career for a moment like this. We were coming from behind as an underdog team and we are getting a lot of support,” Raymont said.
Jamie Kermond and his horse Yandoo Oaks Constellation scored 13.53 – 2 rails 1 time – to place 29th individually.
Scott Keach and Fedor placed 35th with a total of 17.22 – 1 rail, 1 time.
USA won the team event with Sweden securing the silver medal and Germany bronze.
Germany's Simone Blum and DSP Alice won individual gold with a score of 3.47, followed by Switzerland's Martin Fuchs and Cloony (6.68) in silver, and Fuchs' compatriot Steve Guerdat and Bianca (8.00) rounded out the podium in third.
In Sunday night's Driving Dressage event, Boyd Exell finished on 31.68, which was a mile in front of his rivals, to again prove himself as one of the biggest class acts on the world equestrian stage
While his stunning score was impressive, it was not his best. The most outstanding finishing score of his career was a 30 at WEG in Kentucky in 2010.
“The crazy thing is in Kentucky we did a beautiful test but it was not the same power and movement of this team today,” Exell said.
“This is the best team I have ever had and that doesn’t come often as it takes 30 years to build a team like that. Today in this atmosphere it was like turning a V8 engine into a V10,” he said.
Exell placed 3rd in the marathon with a score of 121.93, and second in the cones driving with a score of 0.52 to give him a total Driving score of 154.14 to secure him overall Driving WEG crown.