Boyd Exell has paid tribute to his new team of horses after claiming his eighth FEI World Cup Driving title in Bordeaux.

Unfinished business

The amazing Aussie outpaced his rivals to repeat last year’s podium places with Jérôme Voutaz snagging second place again and Koos De Ronde repeating his third-place finish.

Boyd’s top team of four was almost identical to his winning team in Gothenburg in 2017, with Demi, Clinton Star and Bajnok all competing. Costa 49 was replaced by newcomer Conversano Poker in the all-important final, after a season of trying out replacements.

“Luckily the horses were just brilliant and dug deep and came through for me,” said Boyd. “Winning the title is a relief. It feels like a job finished off, because we had a good start to the season and we were trying new horses.”

“Then the last two shows I won the first two rounds and then lost in the drive off in Leipzig and Olympia, so it felt like unfinished business until now.”

Go for it!

It was another superb indoor season for Boyd and his navigator Emma Olsen and backstepper Hugh Scott-Barrett, winning three of the opening four races. However, Ijsbrand Chardon, Bram Chardon and Jérôme Voutaz had their share of wins, and Boyd knew he would have his work cut out in the final.

“There was no room for error, but that’s what a good final should be,” he said. “The drive off was a little bit as we thought. We thought Bram would be fast and Glenn Geerts would go for it. They lost a little bit of composure at the end of the course. Jerome went up a level, and had no choice but to go for it.”

Family affair

It was a family affair for the Chardons, with Bram Chardon’s sister Lianne in his navigator’s position and his grandfather Abraham in the audience to cheer the pack on.

Bram finished fourth ahead of his father Ijsbrand, who is a four-time World Champion and 12-time Dutch champion.

You can watch FEI World Cup Driving 2017/2018: Final online when it premieres on 8 February at 8pm on Horse & Country TV and Amazon VideoIt’s also available to watch on Sky 253.