Four-in-hand driving is always exciting, though sometimes the results can be predictable.

Saturday’s marathon at Royal Windsor Horse Show was both.

Driving legend Boyd Exell (AUS), winner of the past five CAIO4* Driving World Cup qualifiers at RWHS, has been comfortably coasting around the Queen’s garden on cruise control and is well in position to retain his title despite a fifth place finish in the marathon after having some slower-than-preferred times at obstacles two and seven. He sits atop the leaderboard on 155.56 points, with four gates in hand heading into Sunday’s cones phase.

Saturday saw a sizable shuffle in the leaderboard below him after the marathon.

Chester Weber (USA), 2015 winner at Royal Windsor, decided to taste the tea in England over the weekend, moving from fourth to second place with a brilliant marathon performance. The 2018 World Equestrian Games team gold medalist finished the day on a score of 121.33, for a two day total of 168.18.

Glenn Geerts (BEL) moved up from sixth place after dressage into third position overall, after tying with “master of the marathon” Koos De Ronde (NED) on 122.27 in the marathon. He sits on 175.84 heading into cones, just a point and half ahead of Belgium’s Dries Degrieck (176.39).

Related reading: “Best & Worst with Koos De Ronde

The fastest marathon time of the day, however, belonged to Michael Brauchle (GER). Brauchle is ranked No. 10 in the world and was part of the German silver medal-winning team at the 2014 World Equestrian Games. After efficiently negotiating his team through all eight obstacles, Brauchle was the only driver to score under 120 in the marathon, completing the course on a score of 118.47. Alas, with a dressage score of 59.30, it only moved him up one spot on the leaderboard, from seventh to sixth.

In a day filled with twists and turns, on course and in the results, the crowd was as energized as the drivers and grooms who gave shouts of encouragement as they blazed through the timers.

The winner of the RWHS CAIO4* Land Rover Driving Grand Prix will be crowned Sunday.

This story has been updated to correct the overall scores and standings, as well as Chester Weber’s Royal Windsor performance history.

Feature Image: Rebecca Berry Photography // Michael Brauchle