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Boyd Exell Leads as Top Placed Individual


         Boyd Exell Leads as Top Placed Individual While Team USA Bests Marathon Competition in Polaris  RANGER Driving Competition

         It was an action-packed day on the Marathon course at the Polaris RANGER Driving competition at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 on Saturday. Leading world champion Boyd Exell (AUS), is still in the lead, despite his brakes failing him on the downhill stretches of the course at TIEC. 

         Team Gold is now up for grabs for Team USA, leading on 338.98 points, trailed by Belgium (353.80) and the Netherlands (357.67). 

Boyd Exell and team in the Marathon Phase

         Dutch Koos de Ronde, competing at his fourth WEG saved the team standing for the Dutch. The Marathon winner of the day was the fastest in four of the eight obstacles, built beautifully by course designer Richard Nicoll. De Ronde and his chestnut team won the Marathon phase, but teammates, father Ijsbrand and son Bram Chardon, were not so lucky. 

         "It all went great. I did not have a good Dressage result because I brought a team of good Marathon horses. I knew I could win it with them and let Bram and Ijsbrand do the dressage. That was my tactic," said de Ronde. 

Koos De Ronde and team dash through the first water obstacle. 

         All three US-drivers put in solid rounds, with Chester Weber finishing fifth in the Marathon. In the overall ranking, he kept his second place from Dressage, now seven points behind leading title-holder Boyd Exell. That is two balls and two seconds in the cones phase on Sunday. 

          "We did not win the Marathon, but are sitting in a good place." 

Chester Weber and team hold second place individually leading into the Cones
phase tomorrow. 

         The three young Belgian drivers put in a stunning team performance. At his second WEG, 29-year-old Edouard Simonet ranks third after Dressage and Marathon. 

         "We are not just three guys from one country. We are all close friends, all under 30 years old", said teammate Glenn Geerts, who currently holds seventh place.  

         "My grandfather was an international driver and I always wanted to follow him. Drees' father was a driver, as well and Simonet was a backstepper for Boyd Exell. We all go back a long way." 

Edouard Simonet and team currently rank third individually. 

         Boyd Exell had a hairy drive having to go without brakes for portions of his trip around the Marathon course, but his team continued to prove their standing, making easy work of several obstacles. 

         "In Obstacle 1 at Gate 1, I had the first mistake. That was not a perfect ride by a long shot. The horses had lots of power. I could have done two more obstacles." 

         The four-time world champion had his carriage converted for Aachen to support a broken leg. The carriage then was reverted and shipped out to the States only two days after the competition and was in the container for about six weeks. 

         "We tested the carriage here a lot and today there might have been air in the lines. We were on two wheels out of No. 6," said Exell. 

         He finished third in the marathon, behind Swiss Jerome Voutaz (SUI) who was fastest through the gates of two obstacles. 

         Tryon International Equestrian Center