Calgary, Canada – Fresh off his bronze medal win at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Eric Lamaze (CAN) has arrived in Calgary, Canada to contest the CSIO5* Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ tournament running September 7-11, 2016. He is joined by fellow Rolex Testimonees Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER), Steve Guerdat (SUI) and Scott Brash (GBR), who made history at last year’s ‘Masters’ tournament by becoming the first rider to win the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.
Lamaze, who credits his success at the 2016 Olympic Games to his preparation at the Spruce Meadows ‘Summer Series’, will face another star-studded field when he contests the $2 million CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex, on Sunday, September 11.
“It is a big weekend here; we are going to jump the same fences we jumped at the Olympics, and it’s the same level of competition,” said Lamaze, who added an Individual bronze to the Individual gold and Team silver won at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. “You don’t come into Spruce Meadows taking things lightly.”
Spectators at last year’s Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ witnessed history in the making as Brash, riding Hello Sanctos, became the first athlete to win the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. The pair won at CHI Geneva (SUI) followed by a second victory at CHIO Aachen (GER) before handling the pressure to take the win at Spruce Meadows and claim the unprecedented €1 million bonus offered to any rider able to win all three Grand Prix events in succession.
“What we saw last year with the Rolex Grand Slam was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in this venue,” said Lamaze, who was a two-time winner of the International Grand Prix, presented by Rolex (the predecessor to the now CP ‘International’) 2007 and 2011 with the legendary Hickstead. “I have been part of many exciting things that have happened at Spruce Meadows over the years, but this was one of the very best moments that I have witnessed. I know what it’s like to win this Grand Prix, and it’s not easy. We saw something that was truly incredible.”
At this year’s Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ tournament, Philipp Weishaupt (GER) is the live contender, having won the last leg of the Rolex Grand Slam at CHIO Aachen. Lamaze considers the German and his partner, LB Convall, one of the riders to beat come Sunday.
“I think his horse jumped very well here in the summer, and it went on to Aachen to win the Rolex Grand Prix where it jumped incredible,” said Lamaze. “I believe he is one of the favourites to win this, and I think he has his eye on the prize. We’re going to see great sport.”
While Lamaze’s Olympic partner, Fine Lady 5, is enjoying a well-deserved rest following Rio, he has three horses in the stable for this weekend’s main event. Check Picobello Z is the most experienced while Chacco Kid and Houston are also proving themselves at the top level.
“I think we’re going to get a nice welcome home,” said Lamaze, who is competing on Canadian soil for the first time following the Olympic Games. “The public appreciated what we did there – we brought home a medal from the Olympics – so I think we will be very well-received!
“Spruce Meadows is unique,” concluded Lamaze, who is the all-time money winner at Spruce Meadows, where Rolex has been the official timekeeper since 1989. “The arena is magical on the weekend when there are 60,000 people here; as a rider it is such a special moment to hear the crowd cheer. There is nothing else like it.”
Whatever the outcome, top sport is guaranteed at the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’.
Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5. Photo by Arnd Bronkhorst Photography.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON claimed the individual bronze medal on the final day of show jumping competition held Friday, August 19, at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Riding Fine Lady 5, owned by Andy and Carlene Ziegler’s Artisan Farms and Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable, Lamaze jumped clear in both rounds of the Individual Final to join a six-horse jump-off for the individual medals.
In the jump-off, Nick Skelton of Great Britain led with a clear round riding Big Star, stopping the clock at 42.82 seconds. Steve Guerdat of Switzerland, Sheikh Ali Al Thani of Qatar and Kent Farrington of the United States all had rails down before Sweden’s Peder Fredricson jumped clear in a time of 43.35 seconds riding All In to secure a medal; the only question was which one it would be. It was all up to Lamaze, who was the final rider to enter the packed Deodoro Olympic stadium.
Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 had been the only pair to jump clear through every round of competition held over four days, but their luck ran out at the penultimate fence in the jump-off, giving the pair four faults. Speed is never a question for Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 however, and they crossed the timers in 42.09 seconds, the fastest of all the jump-off contenders, to take the individual bronze medal.
“It was an incredible competition!” said Lamaze, who now has a third Olympic medal to add to his individual gold and team silver earned at the 2008 Beijing Olympics riding Hickstead. “To even represent your country, let alone win a medal, at the Olympics is just amazing. I am so grateful to Fine Lady and for the support of Andy and Carlene Ziegler. To have a horse with the ability to come here and do that is incredible. This medal is as much theirs as it is mine.
“Fine Lady didn’t win the jump-off, but she won the Olympics, in my opinion,” continued Lamaze of the 13-year-old bay Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Drosselklang II). “She was the best horse; she was the only horse that started the jump-off today with zero faults. But at the Olympics, it’s a brand new slate on the last day, and those other clear rounds don’t count. That’s the way it is. It was a gruelling competition, and for Fine Lady to be one of the best horses at the Olympic Games is incredible.”
Lamaze carefully built Fine Lady 5 up throughout the 2016 season with Rio in mind, competing throughout the winter in Wellington, FL and spending four weeks in June and July in Calgary, AB, competing at the Spruce Meadows ‘Summer Series’.
“We made the plan this year, and the whole thing was set up for her; she needed to arrive here full of confidence,” said Lamaze of his Olympic preparation. “Spruce Meadows is one of the very best venues to get ready for championships, and we are very lucky to have that in Canada.
“I’m incredibly proud of the entire Canadian team, and especially that we qualified three riders for the Individual Final,” concluded Lamaze.
Having led the Canadian Show Jumping Team to a fourth place finish following a jump-off against Germany for the bronze medal on Wednesday, Lamaze sat at the top the leaderboard heading into the Individual Final, which saw the top 35 compete. He was joined by teammates Yann Candele, 45, and Tiffany Foster, 32, in the battle for an individual medal.
Foster of North Vancouver, BC had the last fence down in the opening round of the Individual Final riding Tripple X III, a 14-year-old Anglo European stallion (Namelus R x Cantango) owned by Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable. Her score of four faults allowed her to move through to the second round, but 12 faults left them out of medal contention and in 26th position overall.
“I’ve never ridden in the Individual Final in any championships, so this is as far as I’ve ever gotten!” said an elated Foster, who made her Olympic debut in London in 2012. “I’m thrilled with my horse; he gave me everything he had this whole week. I couldn’t be happier with him, and I couldn’t be happier with my team. I had the best Olympics I’ve ever had!”
Candele of Caledon, ON incurred 12 faults in the first round to tie for 32nd position in his Olympic debut riding First Choice 15, a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding (For Keeps x Angard) owned by the Watermark Group, a group of owners committed to supporting the Canadian Show Jumping Team.
“My horse was a bit tired today,” said Candele, noting that the Individual Final was the fourth day of Olympic-calibre show jumping. “Basically, I was under the pace and that created the faults, I guess.
“I’ve never seen an Olympic Games with such a high standard of horse and rider combinations,” noted Candele. “You had 15 or 20 starters that could have easily won.”
In the end, it was Great Britain’s Nick Skelton who stood in the center of the medal podium, flanked by Peder Fredricson of Sweden who won individual silver and 2008 Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze wearing the individual bronze medal for Canada.
Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 18 August 2016 – On the eve of the Olympic individual Jumping Final at Deodoro Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro (BRA), the riders are thinking ahead to Friday’s big challenge. A total of 35 combinations will tackle the track when the action gets underway at 10.00 local time, and if form is anything to go by then one to watch will definitely be 2008 Olympic individual champion, Canada’s Eric Lamaze, who will have the best of the draw when last to go in the first round.
Riding the 13-year-old mare Fine Lady he has completed the first three individual qualifiers without knocking a pole while posting super-fast times.
His single-point advantage over America’s Kent Farrington (Voyeur), Sweden’s Peder Fredricson (All In), and Maikel van ver Vleuten (Verdi) counts for nothing when the action resumes, however, because everyone starts Friday’s competition on a zero score. That isn’t preventing the 2008 individual Olympic champion from feeling pretty positive though.
“You can’t help but feel good about it so far, and it’s great to be leading going into the competition even though it doesn’t mean anything to be in that position. What it is is a testament to how good your horse is jumping,” says the 48-year-old Canadian rider. “Of course there’s always the unknown; this sport can bring very bad news very quickly and the last day is going to be a Grand Prix course. But look at Hong Kong (Beijing 2008 Olympic Games) – the ones in the lead stayed in the lead at the end.”
He’s very aware that a number of other horses are excelling themselves this week but is supremely confident in his mare. “She’s a very predictable horse; she’s not affected by the heat and when you go in the ring she sparks,” he points out. And he didn’t have to compete in Wednesday’s thrilling jump-off for team bronze in which Team USA pipped Canada. “We really wanted to win that bronze yesterday but it was good for me not to go in the jump-off. I would have been happy to do it, but in the end it wasn’t necessary,” he explains.
Many of his career highlights came through his remarkable partnership with the great stallion Hickstead, who carried him to team silver and individual glory in Beijing, but tragically died three years later. “He was one of a kind,” Lamaze says with pride. “With him I went to Beijing as favourite and he stayed favourite – you couldn’t help but feel good going into the final there. But it’s a different scenario here; there are already 12 other clears going into the last day.”
He says Fine Lady is “pretty simple – she knows her routine, and when you go in the ring you get the same horse every time.” And his confidence is boosted by the fact that the mare is in the right frame of mind. “I find that most times when you arrive at a show and the horse is ‘on,’ then the horse is ‘on’ – when the horse is having a good week, it stays that way,” he says.
And the courses designed by Brazil’s Guilherme Jorge hold no horrors for him. “I’m used to his courses; he’s a very clever course builder, very technical but horse-friendly,” Lamaze says. He talks about the penultimate double in the first track last Sunday which caused plenty of problems, and says he expects the open water to continue to be influential Friday. “I like it when the water is an independent jump and the riders have to find it. On the first day you could find it yourself, but on the second day it was on a bending seven-stride line and it was hard to get the distance forward enough.”
He’s really surprised with how Fine Lady has developed into such a top-quality competition ride. “We never bought her to go to the Olympics; she just grew into her scope, but she was originally a 1.50m speed horse. It was only after she jumped great at Geneva (SUI) last year that I thought I would experiment, and I can hardly believe how much she has improved. She’s as good a horse as I’ve ridden since Hickstead, and she’s as competitive as he was. She’s 13 years old but she feels just amazing, and who knows what’s left for her to win. I slowly brought her to where she is now and she has surprised me every time,” he says.
When asked what he thinks of his chances of a medal, he replies, “We all dream of medals, but so many things need to go right – although look at the French yesterday and how that worked out!” referring to the French team victory despite a terrible run of bad luck for them earlier in the week. “Regardless of the outcome I will be giving my best and for sure she will give her best too. It would mean the world to win another medal, but it won’t break me if I don’t,” Lamaze says.
And then he talks about what makes an “Olympic” horse. “They need to have a lot blood, they need agility, and they have to be versatile. They should never look down at the bottom of a fence; they need to carry their eyes level; they need to look and to measure and to know exactly where they are and where they’re going.
“Hickstead had eyes in his legs, and Fine Lady is very much the same. She’s all about rhythm and speed.”
Equestrian in the Olympics
Equestrian sport has been part of the Olympic Games since 1912. Team and individual medals are awarded in three disciplines – Dressage, Eventing and Jumping. Uniquely across the Olympic Movement, men and women compete against each other for all the medals in equestrian sport.
Eric Lamaze with Fine Lady 5. Photo by Arnd Bronkhorst Photography.
Brussels, Belgium – Canadian show jumping athlete Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON is number ten in the world on the new rider rankings released Thursday, August 4, by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI).
On the eve of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, the 2008 Olympic Champion has regained his place in the top ten with a total of 2,449 points. Having started the year in 39th position, Lamaze has steadily climbed up the world rankings following consistent performances across the globe. Germany’s Christian Ahlmann has moved into the top position with 3,204 points to push last month’s number one, Simon Delestre of France, into second with 3,140 points. Penelope Leprevost of France is number three, as well as being the top-ranked female rider in the world, with 2,909 points.
Lamaze’s return to the top ten after a four-year hiatus comes following a rebuilding period. Formerly the number one ranked rider in the world, Lamaze has concentrated on rebuilding his string of competition horses following the sudden death of his great stallion, Hickstead, in November of 2011. With the support of Andy and Carlene Ziegler of Artisan Farms, Lamaze has developed several young mounts into top international contenders.
In July, Lamaze scored a total of four victories in CSI5* competition, winning twice at the Spruce Meadows ‘North American’ tournament in Calgary, AB, and twice at the prestigious showgrounds of Aachen, Germany. Three of the four victories came aboard Fine Lady 5, Lamaze’s mount for the Rio Olympics.
“Winning the two classes in Aachen was a big deal, as was having scores of clear and four with Chacco Kid in the Nations’ Cup,” said Lamaze, 48. “Every one of my horses contributed to our success in July. Fine Lady is my lead horse, but every horse in my string has played a part in this ranking.”
Lamaze earned valuable world rider ranking points for his strong performances aboard Chacco Kid in the €350,000 Mercedes Benz Nations’ Cup in Aachen, GER, on July 14 and also jumped three clear rounds riding Check Picobello Z to place third in the $500,000 ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup held July 9 at the Spruce Meadows ‘North American’ tournament.
“Thank you to the Ziegler family of Artisan Farms for their unwavering support, and thank you to my staff for all of their hard work; this achievement truly is a team effort,” said Lamaze, who was last ranked in the top ten in September of 2012. “I would also like to congratulate Tiffany Foster on moving up to number 32 in the world. I remember when Tiffany was excited to be ranked number 500 in the world, so for her to now be on the verge of breaking into the top 30 is quite an accomplishment. It’s always rewarding to watch people that you have helped move forward and get ahead in the rankings. I’m very proud.”
Lamaze continued to speak to the importance of being ranked so highly in the world, saying, “It’s a big achievement as Canadians, especially considering we don’t have the luxury of doing as many Nations’ Cup events as other riders who are competing in Europe, so our world rankings are based mostly on grand prix competition. We are very fortunate to have a venue like Spruce Meadows hosting so many world ranking classes, which really helps any rider who competes there to move up in the rankings.”
For Lamaze, regaining a position in the top ten is especially exciting as he prepares to compete in Rio alongside Yann Candele of Caledon, ON and Tiffany Foster of North Vancouver, BC, both of whom he trains, as well as Amy Millar of Perth, ON. Another one of Lamaze’s students, 20-year-old Kara Chad of Calgary, AB, is the traveling reserve.
“We are feeling really good, especially after Fine Lady won two classes and Tiffany and her Olympic horse, Tripple X III, placed fifth in the €1,000,000 Rolex Grand Prix in Aachen,” said Lamaze. “Amy’s horse has had a strong season and while Yann has sacrificed showing in some of the bigger events this summer, his horse’s competition schedule has been carefully planned with the Olympics in mind. We have a strong reserve rider in Kara Chad, and know she can deliver should we need to call on her.”
Having led Canada to a team silver medal before capturing the individual gold in dramatic fashion riding Hickstead at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Lamaze is optimistic heading to Rio with Fine Lady 5, a 13-year-old bay Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Drosselklang II) owned by Artisan Farms in partnership with Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable.
“I did it once on Hickstead, who was a favourite to win,” said Lamaze of his individual chances. “In London, due to the circumstances, I was asking a young horse to do big things; I felt I was just participating and supporting the team. This time, I’m going with a horse that can compete. I feel really good about it.”
Lamaze will compete at the CSI5* Global Champions Tour in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands from August 5 to 7 with Chacco Kid and Check Picobello Z. Then he and Fine Lady 5 head to Rio de Janeiro, where Olympic show jumping competition begins on Sunday, August 14.
Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5. Photo by Arnd Bronkhorst Photography.
Aachen, Germany – 2008 Olympic Show Jumping Champion Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON won his second event of the week in Aachen, Germany, riding his Rio Olympic mount, Fine Lady 5. The pair won the €62,700 Turkish Airlines Prize of Europe on Wednesday before topping the €100,000 Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia on Friday, July 15.
The victory came one day after the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) officially announced the Canadian Equestrian Team for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, which included Lamaze and Fine Lady 5, a 13-year-old bay Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Drosselklang II) owned by Andy and Carlene Ziegler of Artisan Farms in partnership with Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable.
In Friday’s €100,000 Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia, a world-class starting field of 55 horses tackled the two-round competition over tracks set by German course designer Frank Rothenberger. Following the opening round, the top 25 riders carried their faults forward to a second round where speed became the name of the game. With a time of 58.13 seconds, Lamaze annihilated the competition, clocking in more than three full seconds faster than runner-up Maurice Tebbel of Germany, who crossed the timers in 61.70 seconds riding Chacco’s Son. Four-time Olympic gold medalist Ludger Beerbaum of Germany took third with a time of 63.55 seconds riding Chiara 222.
It was Lamaze’s first win in the €100,000 Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia. In 2010, he placed second riding Hickstead, the same year the pair captured the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen.
With two wins in one week in Aachen, widely considered to be the most competitive show jumping venue in the world, Fine Lady 5 is proving worthy of Lamaze’s belief in her as his Olympic mount.
“Talk about the best way to go into Rio!” exclaimed Lamaze, who arrived in Aachen following four weeks of competition at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, AB. “Not only what she did in Calgary, but what she did in Aachen proves to me that she was the right choice for Rio. Today was a big 1.55m with two rounds over two different courses and Fine Lady was unbelievable! She seems to be peaking at the right time, and is proving to be quite an incredible horse.”
Lamaze will head to Rio alongside Yann Candele of Caledon, ON, Tiffany Foster of North Vancouver, BC, and Amy Millar of Perth, ON. Kara Chad of Calgary, AB will be the traveling alternate. While the COC was making the official announcement, Chad, Foster, Millar and Lamaze were contesting the €350,000 Mercedes-Benz Nations’ Cup team event in Aachen, Germany.
“It was great, a super team effort,” said Lamaze of the Nations’ Cup competition where Canada finished seventh. “I was riding Chacco Kid, a horse that is greener than Fine Lady, and I was really proud of him in both rounds. Kara made a few minor mistakes in the first round as a 20-year-old riding in Aachen in front of thousands of people, but she corrected herself and put in a great effort for us in the second round. Amy had a great experience – her horse has proven that he is worthy of going to the Olympics with those two rounds – and Tiffany is in great form. It was in Yann’s horse’s best interest to sit this one out so we didn’t have our full Olympic team, but we were very happy with our result.”
Speaking of his own performance in the Nations’ Cup with Chacco Kid, a ten-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Chacco Blue x Come On) owned by Chacco Kid Group, Lamaze said, “Chacco Kid was amazing; he was a superstar. I think he’s going to do some incredible things. To be in the Nations’ Cup in Aachen when we only purchased him in January is incredible. I thought Rome, where he did his first Nations’ Cup, was a big step up, and then to come to Aachen and do the Nations’ Cup here with scores of zero and four proves to me that he is the horse I think he is.”
Lamaze had three mounts in contention for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. His 2015 Pan American Games team gold medal partner, Coco Bongo, was in the running, as was Check Picobello Z. Ultimately, Lamaze felt that Fine Lady 5 was his best choice.
“In a year when you are well-mounted and everything is coming together, you can protect your top horse and still continue to do the big classes,” explained Lamaze, who won individual gold and team silver medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. “Chacco Kid could do the Nations’ Cup in Aachen, and Check Picobello was third in the grand prix in Spruce Meadows last week. We have other horses that can fill Fine Lady’s shoes; they can back her up and protect her.
“Andy and Carlene Ziegler have put a great string of horses under me, as well as under Tiffany, and it makes all the difference in an Olympic year,” continued Lamaze. “I went into the Olympics in London thinking I had no chance; I was on a very inexperienced horse. For this Olympics, I feel like I am well-mounted and have a chance.”
While Fine Lady 5 will now rest before Rio, Lamaze will continue to compete at CSI4* La Coruna, Spain, from July 29-31 followed by a stop on the Global Champions Tour at CSI5* Valkenswaard in The Netherlands from August 4-7.
Aachen, Germany – Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON scored victory riding Fine Lady 5 in Aachen, Germany on Wednesday, July 13.
The 2008 Canadian Olympic Show Jumping Champion was one of 60 challengers in the €62,700 Turkish Airlines Prize of Europe riding Fine Lady 5. Lamaze, with Fine Lady 5, has been nominated to the Canadian Olympic Committee, who will officially announce the 2016 Canadian Olympic Equestrian Team on July 14.
A total of 18 riders advanced to the jump-off, including six currently ranked in the top ten in the world. Bertram Allen of Ireland, Germany’s Christian Ahlmann and Daniel Deusser, Simon Delestre of France, Kent Farrington of the United States, and Gregory Wathelet of Belgium were all among the jump-off challengers. Lamaze, who is currently ranked 16th, showcased Fine Lady 5’s athleticism and foot speed by finishing the jump-off track in a time of 41.35 seconds, holding off world number one Delestre for the win. Delestre stopped the clock in 41.74 seconds riding Qlassic Bois Margot while Olivier Philippaerts of Belgium placed third with a time of 42.04 riding H & M Challenger v. Begijnakker Z.
“This horse just continues to amaze me,” said Lamaze of Fine Lady 5, a 13-year-old bay Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Drosselklang II) owned by Andy and Carlene Ziegler of Artisan Farms in partnership with Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable. “Aachen is one of the most respected competitions we have in our sport, and the best in the world are here to compete and prepare for the Olympics. For Fine Lady to win in a field of this caliber of horses and riders speaks to her quality and competitive nature. She’s in great form.”
Lamaze had three horses in the running for Rio. During the Spruce Meadows Summer Series in Calgary, AB in June, Lamaze made his selection, explaining, “She is the most reliable, experienced horse that I have. Every time I have asked her to step up and do a big class, she has always done it easily.”
Lamaze dominated the four weeks of competition comprising the Spruce Meadows Summer Series, scoring a total of six major victories with four different horses. Fine Lady 5 enjoyed victory in the 1.55m PwC Cup during the final week in Calgary, AB before traveling directly to Aachen.
On Thursday, Lamaze will ride Chacco Kid as a member of the Canadian Show Jumping Team in the Mercedes-Benz Nations’ Cup competition alongside Kara Chad of Calgary, AB, Tiffany Foster of North Vancouver, BC, and Amy Millar of Perth, ON. He will also contest the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen on Sunday, July 17. Part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, Lamaze won the event in 2010, despite breaking his foot during the competition, riding the great Hickstead.
Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Calgary, AB, Canada – The ‘North American’ Tournament CSI5*, presented by Rolex, kicked off at Spruce Meadows on Wednesday with three feature competitions in the International Ring and two wins in a row for Canada’s Eric Lamaze. The ATCO Energy Cup 1.50m saw a win for Lamaze and Rosana du Park, and the PWC Cup 1.55m wrapped up the day with a second victory for Lamaze aboard Fine Lady 5. The AON Cup 1.50m was held earlier in the day with a win for Daniel Coyle (IRL) and Fortis Fortuna.
Spain’s Santiago Varela is the course designer in the International Ring for this week’s competition. Varela concluded his first day with 27 entries in the PWC Cup 1.55m, and a six-horse jump-off that saw a top three finish for Canada. Lamaze and Fine Lady 5, a 13-year-old Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Drosselklang II) owned by Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable, won the jump-off with the fastest clear round in 42.67 seconds. Tiffany Foster (CAN) guided Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines’ Tripple X III to second place honors in 44.81 seconds, and Yann Candele (CAN) jumped the Watermark Group’s Showgirl into the third position in a time of 45.01.
Hardin Towell (USA) also jumped clear over the short course in 45.48 seconds to place fourth aboard Jennifer Gates’ Emilie de Diamant AS. Richard Spooner (USA) and Show Jumping Syndication Intl.’s Cristallo were fast in 43.14 seconds, but dropped one rail to finish fifth. Alberto Michan (MEX) had two down in the jump-off with Ilan Ferder and Tal Milstein’s Gigolo van de Broekkant to place sixth.
Commenting on his winning mount, Fine Lady 5, Lamaze stated, “Fine Lady is a great story. Artisan Farms purchased her for me. We were not sure where we were going, but we knew for sure we had a winner in the 1.50m. She had proven that with her previous rider. Sometimes you click with a horse and you get a little bit more, but I feel like she would do anything for me. She is a fantastic mare with a lot of heart and she just keeps jumping well. She is confident and I know her really well, so she is turning into a really special horse for me.”
Detailing the tiebreaker, in which he was last to go, Lamaze detailed, “Tiffany had the misfortune of going first in the jump-off. So many of these competitions at Spruce Meadows are won with the last rider going in, as you are able to get a feel for the track and how fast you need to go. Going last is definitely a big advantage in most competitions here at Spruce Meadows.”
Speaking of her own jump-off with Tripple X, Foster added, “It was actually a really nice jump-off for my horse because he has a really big stride and it was really open. If you just looked at the two of our horses standing next to each other, mine is a lot bigger than Eric’s. For me to gallop on a big stride is actually not that fast for me, but I thought my horse jumped great and I was really happy with him.”
With the Olympic Games in Brazil approaching, and the Canadian Show Jumping team yet to be announced, the riders are hoping for the best and feel confident knowing that they are performing well with their top mounts.
Speaking of the top three finish for Canada, Lamaze concluded, “It is all in the Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines family, and any time we can pull this off I think it is a great day for all of us. We all cheer for each other. We are there through the bad days and the good days and sometimes it all goes our way.”
Lamaze Leads ATCO Energy Cup
The ATCO Energy Cup 1.50m speed competition saw a first win for Lamaze earlier on Wednesday competing with Rosana du Park out of 57 entries and 22 clear rounds. Lamaze put his name on the trophy for the fourth time after also taking victory in the competition with Hickstead in 2005, Coriana van Klapscheut in 2010, and Fine Lady 5 in 2014. He and Rosana du Park, the 11-year-old Selle Francais mare (Kannan x Ukase) owned by Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable, clocked the winning time of 65.40 seconds.
Conor Swail (IRL) and Dillinger, owned by Susan and Ariel Grange, placed second in 66.67 seconds. Rich Fellers (USA) and Flexible, owned by Harry and Mollie Chapman, finished third with their time of 69.43 seconds. Leslie Howard (USA) took fourth place aboard the Utah Group’s Utah in 71.55 seconds. Lucy Deslauriers (USA) guided Lisa Deslauriers’ Hester to fifth place in 72.19 seconds, and Howard also took the sixth place prize in 72.19 seconds aboard Peter Howard’s Donna Speciale.
Commenting on his win, Lamaze stated, “There are a lot of 1.50m competitions throughout the summer tour and they are all important, but for me, to win in the International Ring always means much more. To see Hickstead and Coriana and Fine Lady’s names on this trophy just brings back some great memories.”
Seventeenth in the order of 57, Lamaze had to wait many rounds to see if his time held up for the win, but he felt confident in his round.
“You never know for these competitions,” he admitted. “The only thing I can say is that she (Rosana du Park) is extremely fast and I did leave a stride out from the Liverpool to the vertical. I am the only one that did six strides there. I think I had a pretty good trip. It went as I thought it would, but there are always riders behind you that watch you go, and get an idea where to knick you here and there. I was lucky enough today; Conor came pretty close.”
Eric Lamaze raises the trophy for his first win of the day with Pat Creaghan, President, ATCO Energy.
Always a cool character, Rosana du Park proudly accepted her winning ribbon and cooler, and led the victory gallop to the thrill of fans.
Commenting on the mare’s professional demeanor, Lamaze stated, “She is pretty cool; she is a great show horse. She is a worker and she just knows where she is.
“She is my Hickstead of the speed classes that can also jump a 1.60m if I ask her to once in a while,” he continued. “She is a really experienced speed horse and I was saying how great it is to come to Spruce Meadows with one of those. Other riders have younger horses or maybe horses that are not quite as fast. I love to have one that can compete in these classes that you know you can win with. It kind of sets the tone for the week.”
Coyle Wins in International Ring
The AON Cup 1.50m was the first competition held in the International Ring on Wednesday featuring 49 starters over Santiago Varela’s (ESP) one round speed course. Fifteen entries were able to clear the course without fault, while eleven others finished on time faults. The fastest clear track belonged to Ireland’s Daniel Coyle aboard Susan and Ariel Grange’s Fortis Fortuna in 60.50 seconds. Their time pushed Conor Swail (IRL) and Ilan Ferder’s Kanisso into second on their time of 60.66 seconds.
Richard Spooner (USA) jumped to third place in 62.28 seconds riding Little Valley Farm’s Cornancer. Alberto Michan (MEX) guided Ilan Ferder’s Ujade Ste Hermelle to fourth place in 62.79 seconds, and Richie Moloney (IRL) rounded out the top five with a time of 64.46 riding Equinimity LLC’s Ypaja Yando.
Daniel Coyle has earned multiple wins on different horses throughout the Summer Series at Spruce Meadows, but this was his first big win in the International Ring. He and Fortis Fortuna also won last week’s Friends of the Meadows U25 Cup in Meadows on the Green, but this victory was special for the 21-year-old rider.
“It was fabulous. It is always brilliant to win an international competition, especially in that International Ring,” Coyle remarked. “Last week, I said that I was going to jump a 1.50m on that horse after the she won the U25, and I did and it did not go well. So I decided to do one more and she won it. She was very good; she should have a bright future that one.”
Fortis Fortuna is an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Quidam de Revel x Carthago) that is stepping up to the top level along with her young rider. Second place finisher Conor Swail, who Coyle works with closely at Ariel and Susan Grange’s Lothlorien Farm, previously rode the mare. The two Irish riders were in a league of their own on Wednesday, finishing well ahead of their other competitors.
Coyle detailed, “In the warm-up, Conor still had his other horse Cita to jump, and she is very fast and has won a bunch of classes here. I said to him, ‘I think you have it won, unless I beat you.’ And I did! We never really got a chance to talk about the course, so I did that one all on my own. I am very happy. I would say Conor and I had very similar rounds, but my horse was just that small bit faster than his horse, and that is where the difference was.”
Speaking about the experience of jumping in the impressive atmosphere of Spruce Meadows’ International Ring for horse and rider, Coyle added, “For a young horse, it is brilliant for their experience. For an older horse that has done it for a while, they go in there and the atmosphere is different and the horse can sense that, and so can I obviously. There is always more pressure on, and some horses rise to it and some horses don’t. It is a fabulous ring; it is one of the best rings in the world, and there is always a crowd here. It is a lovely place to jump.”
Earlier in the day, Coyle also topped the Jayman Cup FEI 1.40m competition in the All Canada Ring, guiding Susan Grange’s Somerset to victory.
The ‘North American’ Tournament, presented by Rolex, continues on Thursday featuring the ATCO Cup 1.50m, the Sun Life Financial ‘Reach for the Sun’ 1.50m, and the Progress Energy Cup 1.55m.
Eric Lamaze and Rosana du Park. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Calgary, AB, Canada – The Repsol Cup 1.50m was the highlight competition on Saturday at the Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ CSI 5* Tournament, the second week of four in the Spruce Meadows Summer Series. Eric Lamaze (CAN) was victorious riding Rosana du Park. Philipp Weishaupt (GER) and LB Convall were second, while Kara Chad (CAN) and Bella Strade took third place. Earlier in the day, Jack Hardin Towell (USA) and New York won the McDaniel & Associates Cup 1.45m.
Join Spruce Meadows for a special Sunday Father’s Day at the ‘Continental’ Tournament! Highlighting the day is the CP Grand Prix, at 1 p.m. MST, and there will be the CP Mini Train, pony rides, mini golf, face painting, and ice cream. Don’t miss a special day for the family at Spruce Meadows and see top show jumping competition with complimentary admission.
The Repsol Cup had 40 entries, and seven of those found the clear path to the jump-off. Five were double clear, and the pacesetter was Christine McCrea (USA) on Win for Life, who finished in 47.19 seconds for fifth place. Peter Lutz (USA) and Retiro finished fourth in 46.55 seconds. Kara Chad and Bella Strade took the lead in 45.06 seconds, but it would not last long as Philipp Weishaupt and LB Convall moved up in 45.02 seconds.
Last to go in the ring, Lamaze had the best chance to go for a win, and he said that he was “very confident” heading into the jump-off. He and Rosana du Park, an 11-year-old Selle Francais mare (Kannan x Quinine de Livoye) owned by Artisan Farms LLC and Torrey Pines Stable, took nearly two seconds off of Weishaupt’s time and won in 43.08 seconds.
“This was, not to call it an easy jump-off, but we didn’t have our usual racers with Hardin and Kent, and people who seem to be able to lay it down all the time,” he said. “Philipp’s horse is a very nice horse, but I don’t think it’s a super-fast horse. Kara’s is a new horse for her. I had the champion of the runners.”
While Lamaze is known for his incredible ability to ride at speed, he admitted that being in a situation where he doesn’t have to go all out is not his forte.
He laughed, “I’m not great at that, to be honest. I’ve mostly managed to screw up [a situation like this] quite often! For whatever reason, I’m better at going fast and they say you gotta go. I’m not good at managing my speed. I feel like the whole course I’m going too slow. I’m better when you just have to go.”
Lamaze was proud of his student, Kara Chad, who placed third Saturday and was second in the difficult Scotiabank Cup 1.55m Friday.
“Spruce Meadows is really a venue that gives opportunity to younger riders to step up and do big classes,” he said. “This is where magic happens and where they get confidence. What that competition did for Kara last night is a huge boost. Who knows where it’s going to take her. I feel like everybody has a chance to have these moments here at Spruce Meadows.”
For Weishaupt, Spruce Meadows is also a special place to prepare a young horse. His new star, LB Convall, a nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding, came out strong this week. Having only ridden him for six months, Weishaupt found that he was good on grass.
“He’s not so experienced, and he’s quite green on that level. He has never jumped on grass,” he said. “He felt really, really happy on the grass field. I’m really happy with that because some of them don’t like it. He liked it from day one.”
Weishaupt said he knew he “had no chance” against Lamaze. He noted, “Eric’s horse jumped amazing. She has so much more experience and is a really quick horse. I didn’t want to go crazy because my horse is only nine years old. I did what I can do without risking too much and that worked out. I’m more than happy with my second place.”
Weishaupt feels that he has a very special mount in LB Convall. “He is, I think, I hope, my next championship horse. He’s the best I have,” he said.
Following the Spruce Meadows Summer Series, Weishaupt will contest the CHIO Aachen with LB Convall.
Towell and New York Win Wire-to-Wire
Jack Hardin Towell didn’t plan to even compete in the McDaniel & Associates Cup 1.45m, but when his barn manager Chris Howard entered New York and told him he was first in the ring, he gave it a go. A good go, in fact, as he was the first clear in round one and the first to return in the jump-off. They set down an unbeatable time of 40.80 seconds to win a wire-to-wire victory.
Coming close behind in second place was Eric Lamaze (CAN) on Melody des Hayettes, who stopped the clock in 40.97 seconds. Third place went to Molly Ashe (USA) and Balous Day Date, who were clear in 42.07 seconds. Finishing in 42.39 seconds, Alberto Michan (MEX) and Ujade Ste Hermelle were fourth. Fifth place was awarded to Jaclyn Duff (CAN) on EH All or None, who had a time of 42.99 seconds.
There were 50 entries in the first round, and 18 of those were clear to the advance to the jump-off. There were 11 double clears.
After a solid schedule of show jumping this winter and spring, New York, a 10-year-old KWPN gelding (Verdi x Watzmann) owned by Jennifer Gates LLC, was given five weeks off before coming to the Spruce Meadows Summer Series. Towell planned to have him as his grand prix horse during last week’s ‘National’ Tournament, and rode Lucifer in the lower competitions. It did not go as planned, and Towell felt discouraged heading into the ‘Continental’ Tournament.
“Last week he was really strong, and he didn’t jump great in the grand prix,” Towell said. “Every class he’s just been too fresh. This is his third day showing in a row. Last night he didn’t jump bad, but it was getting better.
“To be honest, I wasn’t showing until this morning,” he revealed. “I was arguing with Chris, my barn manager. Last night I was talking to him and he said, ‘I entered the 1.45m. You go first.’ Then we were arguing all morning and I didn’t even walk the jump-off (course). I got there, and it was nice. I could gallop and he really held off the jumps, which is good.”
Seeing how New York has been after a five-week absence from the competition, Towell has learned that he thrives on work and competing and will now adjust his schedule accordingly.
“I should just know that I need to show him more,” he said. “I gave him the week off before I came to Spruce Meadows, and I shouldn’t have. I should have shown him that week and then he would have been ready for last week.”
“Less is more” is something else that Towell learned Saturday with New York. He said, “I think sometimes I complicate it. I try to do too much. This morning I didn’t even ride him. I just got on and went (in the ring). Sometimes we want to be so successful and we try to put too much thought into it. There are some horses that you’re just better off getting on and going.”
Towell was pleased with New York’s improvement and the feeling he gave him in this competition. He noted, “I’m happy with the win, but I’m really happy with how he jumped in the jump-off. He feels back to himself. He really tried hard and jumped well.”
While Towell may have been discouraged with some of his performances, he was thrilled with how his student, Jennifer Gates, did in the challenging Scotiabank Cup Friday. She and Pumped Up Kicks had just one time fault and finished fifth.
“Last night Jennifer was amazing. She had a great result, and that was exciting,” he remarked. “The morale on my horses has been down a little bit, so that makes us feel a little better. I was really excited with how Jennifer did. As long as one of us is doing well, it makes things a little easier!”
The CP Grand Prix will conclude the Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ Tournament on Sunday, June 19, at 1 p.m. MST.
Eric Lamaze and Check Picobello Z. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Calgary, AB, Canada – The Spruce Meadows Summer Series continues with the ‘Continental’ CSI 5* Tournament, and it was Eric Lamaze (CAN) who took home the first big win of the week in the Husky Energy Classic 1.50m with Check Picobello Z. Second place went to Tiffany Foster (CAN) on Brighton, while Sameh El Dahan (EGY) riding WKD Diva finished third. In the Wipro Cup 1.45m, Ray Texel (USA) rode Baldira to victory.
The Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ Tournament runs June 15-19, featuring the Scotiabank Cup 1.55m on Friday, June 17, the Repsol Cup 1.50m on Saturday, June 18, and the highlight competition, the CP Grand Prix, on Sunday, June 19.
In the Husky Energy Cup 1.50m, there were 11 clear rounds and six double clears out of 38 entries that competed over a course designed by Luc Musette of Belgium. Setting the early leading time as the second to go in the ring, Sameh El Dahan and WKD Diva were clear in 42.39 seconds, which would hold up for third place.
Seven horses later, it was Lamaze and Check Picobello Z, a ten-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Cardento x Orlando) owned by Artisan Farms LLC and Torrey Pines Stable, that flew around the jump-off. Coming around the last turn, Lamaze picked up the pace even more with an electric gallop to the final vertical. They brought the winning time down to 39.10 seconds, shaving more than three seconds off of El Dahan’s time.
Lamaze could not sit easy though, knowing that Artisan Farms teammate Tiffany Foster was next in the ring on Brighton.
“Everybody did eight (strides) from one to two, and then six across, and the run to the liverpool (fence) was quite important,” Lamaze recounted. “I saw something really wild, distance-wise, and then I saw something more conservative and I backed up to conservative. He’s not a great turner still, so I had to be cautious around to the double (combination). I didn’t see Sameh go, but I knew Tiffany was after me and that horse is very fast, so I had to step it up. I saw the opportunity at the second to last fence, to take [a stride] out and take a risk. Once that worked out, I thought, ‘Well, why not keep it going? Go for broke!’”
Foster and Brighton made a valiant effort, but were slower in 40.35 seconds for second place.
Fourth place went to Luis Alejandro Plascencia (MEX) and Salamera de la Nutria, who finished in 43.36 seconds. Elizabeth Gingras (CAN) and Avalon 280 were fifth with a time of 45.84 seconds.
Lamaze gave credit to Check Picobello Z for making the effort to keep the last jump up.
“The horse helped me out, to be honest. It’s luck; in the end it just comes down to the effort from the horse,” he said. “We’re going at speed to verticals that probably aren’t meant to be jumped clean. Some of the horses react well (at speed), and some get lost a bit. I love the horse for a lot of reasons, but I always felt that I could never be fast because he’s a little mouthy and needs guidance. I’m so happy.”
Lamaze started with “Pico” three years ago when he was purchased from Ilan Ferder, but an injury last year set the grey gelding back. Starting up in Florida this winter, Lamaze was pleasantly surprised that he picked up where he left off.
“I was so sad last year that he did get hurt. I felt like that if I had the complete year, I would have a 1.60m horse with all the experience,” he remarked. “Now I have a 1.60m horse that is still lacking a bit of experience. It’s a good upcoming horse for me; I like him. When you have a horse that you produce jumping at this level and going fast when you didn’t think [that], it’s a lot of fun. It’s a fun part of the sport.”
Texel Is Fastest with Baldira
Riding out of the 53rd spot in the order of 76 entries, Ray Texel (USA) and Baldira, an 11-year-old Oldenburg mare by Baloubet du Rouet x Carthago, secured the win with a clear round and the fastest time of 63.60 seconds in the Wipro Cup 1.45m.
Texel just slipped past Andrew Ramsay (USA) and Cocq A Doodle, who recorded a time of 63.94 seconds for second place in the speed competition. Third place went to Ian Millar (USA) and Baranus who were clear in 64.96 seconds. Nick Dello Joio (USA) and Contiki were fourth in 65.07 seconds, and Jonathan McCrea (USA) and Special Lux were fifth with a time of 66.13 seconds that resulted in one time fault.
Owner Paul Schockemohle and friend Florian Meyer zu Hartum sent Baldira to Texel just over a year ago. Schockemohle has stayed as an owner, along with a new owner, Katie Harris, one of Texel’s clients.
“I think from my previous results with Fleur, ages ago, I’ve been labeled as good with hot mares,” Texel said with a smile. “It’s a great relationship. The mare and I have now had sufficient time to really get to know each other. We had a nice couple of weeks in Vancouver. She was jumping beautifully. After the week off for her, for me to arrive and have a nice, solid day like this, I couldn’t be happier. We have a great team of people.”
Competing in the Meadows on the Green worked out well for Baldira, said Texel. The open grass field and large, wide jumps give Baldira pause and instead of fighting against her rider, she pays attention and respects the course.
Texel added, “I allow her to carry me and let the jumps be her fight. She’s had enough time with me now to know that ride. The more imposition in front of the horse, for her to fight against, tends to bring her to a better level.”
The duo competed at the Spruce Meadows Summer Series in 2015, and it was satisfying to return for victory in their first competition. Texel believes he will compete with Baldira in Sunday’s CP Grand Prix, but will make sure he does what is best for her.
“Now that I’ve had more time with her, I hope I’m making more mindful choices in this circuit, how I’ll bring her along before the final week,” he said. “It’s nice to have a win the first day, but I don’t ever allow those victories to impact my decisions as far as the plan for the horse and what is right for her.”
The Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ Tournament continues on Friday, June 17, with a full day of competition, including the Friends of the Meadows U25 Cup, Altagas Cup 1.45m, and Scotiabank Cup 1.55m.
Conor Swail and Martha Louise. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Calgary, AB, Canada – It was a beautiful day of top show jumping competition at the Spruce Meadows ‘National’, presented by Rolex. Spectators numbered 28,477 to see Ireland’s Conor Swail win the $500,000 RBC Grand Prix, presented by Rolex. It was the highlight event of the CSI 5* tournament, which concludes on Sunday, June 12. Second place went to Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Fine Lady 5, while Rich Fellers (USA) and Flexible placed third. Earlier in the day, Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Rosana du Park won the Transcanada Winning Round 1.50m.
The Spruce Meadows ‘National’, presented by Rolex, concludes on Sunday, June 12, with the $175,000 CNOOC Nexen Cup Derby.
Thirty-three entries took to the course in the RBC Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, which was designed by Guilherme Jorge of Brazil, who will be designing at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Swail said of the course, “There was a premium on carefulness today. There were a lot of tall, light verticals. Scope-wise it wasn’t a huge test, but I thought he did an excellent job creating the right amount of clear rounds.”
The first phase was held earlier in the morning and had ten entries. There was one clear round in Maggie McAlary (USA) and HH Ciske van Overis. They were the first to return in the jump-off and had one rail for four faults in 47.95 seconds. They would finish in fifth place.
Next in was Jonathan McCrea (USA) on Aristoteles V. They were more careful in a time of 49.72 seconds in order to ensure their clear round, which would hold up for fourth place.
McCrea has developed Aristoteles, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion owned by Candy Tribble, since he was five years old. “To produce him to this level has been a long road,” he said. “I’ve believed in him from the start. This year he’s really stepped up to jump the bigger classes. He jumped his first Nations Cup a few weeks ago. I felt very relaxed today when I walked the course. He stepped up to the plate and delivered, so I was happy with him.”
In the first round, McCrea finished exactly on the 86-second time allowed.
“The two 1.55m classes earlier in the week, for me personally, built my horse up to today. I was clear with a time fault in both of them, so that was in the back of my mind today. I could hear the people in the box in the middle of the ring, as I was going to the second to last oxer, they were clucking. I thought, ‘Oh geez, I’m a bit slow here,’” he said with a smile.
Rich Fellers (USA) and his expectation-defying horse, Flexible, brought the winning time down to 43.77 seconds with no faults and they would end up in third place. The 20-year-old Irish Sport Horse stallion, owned by Harry and Mollie Chapman, has survived multiple potentially career-ending injuries. He looked as bright and sharp as ever as he made easy work of the jump-off.
“It’s kind of getting to the point where I’m literally living a dream,” said Fellers. “He felt as good today as he’s ever felt. There’s really no explanation. I do notice little things day-to-day, working with him, he’s getting older and he has some of the typical characteristics of an older athlete. But when he walks in the ring, he gets young. Maybe he gets a lot out of adrenaline. We just take it day by day and see how he feels.”
Going just that much faster next in the jump-off was the crowd favorite, Canada’s Eric Lamaze on Fine Lady 5. Zipping around the course, they stopped the timers in 41.96 seconds.
“She’s naturally quick, and I knew Conor was after me,” Lamaze said. “I thought I’d done enough, or for sure enough to put the pressure that he had to take a few risks and see where it goes. I’m thrilled with this mare today. She jumped fantastic.”
When Lamaze started riding Fine Lady 5, a 13-year-old Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Hauptstutbuch) owned by Artisan Farms LLC & Torrey Pines Stable, he did not consider her to be a solid 1.60m horse. However, when asked to step up, she has proven that she can be competitive at some the biggest venues in the world.
“She proved to me that she can jump some big courses if you manage her well and build her up. She again stepped up today to do a bigger class quite easy,” he commented. “She’s a very light, Thoroughbred-y type jumper. She doesn’t have raw power. That’s why all these speed classes and jump-offs, she runs so fast. You just have to give her the courage to look at a big jump and believe she can jump it. She’s very talented and very careful. It’s important that she has a lot of confidence in me and I have a lot of confidence in her. That’s how a little horse like that can make it over some of these big fences.”
But it would not be enough as the last horse in the ring was able to find that bit more speed to win. Swail and Martha Louise, a 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare (Maloubet de Pleveille x Wolfgang) owned by Susan and Ariel Grange, opened up around the course, made a daring dash to the double combination, and cleared the final oxer in 40.66 seconds.
Swail said he took the “fastest and shortest route,” and it was his turn back to the combination that may have made the difference. He explained, “Going to the double I took a huge risk. I saw one very early and she was very, very good to jump in and out of that double. Once I had done the double – this is what goes through your head when you’re running around at that speed – I thought I’d done enough, so I’d go a little wider to the last and make sure to clear the back rail. That’s how it worked out for me.”
Going last in the jump-off “made a big difference,” Swail said. “I watched Eric’s round and I saw how good of a round he had. There were five clears, I have a fast horse, I ride not too bad, so I thought I would give it a good go and it all came off very well today.”
Of his win, Swail said, “Honestly, I’m over the moon. I thought today, in this big ring, it’s one of the biggest wins I’ve had here. I was just saying to Eric earlier in the day that I wasn’t really expecting a whole lot because Martha hasn’t shown so much since Florida. She really excelled today. It’s nice sometimes when you get a bit of a surprise. I suppose when Martha Louise comes here, she loves this arena. She was amazing, phenomenal today.”
Lamaze Leads Winning Round
The Transcanada Winning Round 1.50m had 28 entries. In this format, the top 10 regardless of first round faults return for a jump-off. Faults do not carry through to the jump-off, but determine the order of go.
Lamaze and Rosana du Park, an 11-year-old Selle Francais mare by Kannan owned by Artisan Farms LLC & Torrey Pines Stable, were fast and clear in the first round, setting them up for the perfect position in the second round order.
“This mare doesn’t often have four faults, (but) if she did, that would be all she had,” Lamaze pointed out. “I just had to look at the time on the board if I had an unlucky rail (in the first round). Fortunately she jumped clear and I had the pole position, last to go in. I had my plan. There were maybe a couple of options, but I thought I would just take the route the others took more or less, but put on some more speed. I would have gone faster if I had to go first.”
When Lamaze entered the ring, he was following fellow Artisan Farms rider Tiffany Foster (CAN), who had set the leading time with a clear round in 55.88 seconds on Brighton. Lamaze and Rosana du Park sped around the course, turning in a time just under in 55.69 seconds for victory.
Third place went to Sameh El Dahan (EGY) on WKD Diva. They recorded a clear round in 56.82 seconds. Conor Swail (IRL) and Hetman of Color J, with a time of 60.53 seconds, finished fourth. Patricio Pasquel (MEX) and Babel were fifth with four faults in 57.28 seconds.
Lamaze is the winningest rider in Spruce Meadows’ 41-year history, earning more than $4.55 million. But he said that winning never gets old, especially at Spruce Meadows.
“They do it in such a fun way with the presentations. You can go around the world and not see presentations like that at major shows,” he said. “Here it’s fun to ride in (to the ring in) the golf cart too; you don’t do that at any other show. I love the presentations here, and that’s what keeps you wanting to win.”
Rosana du Park was one of a handful of horses that were purchased by his owners, Artisan Farms, a few years ago and started competing at Spruce Meadows as young horses in the 1.30m and 1.40m Jumpers. She and Check Picobello Z are now winning consistently at the 1.50m level around the world.
“We’ve had some good luck, but you need great owners behind you in order to do this,” he acknowledged. “There are plenty of horses that we purchased, that you will never see because they weren’t good enough. That’s the game. You don’t bat 100 buying horses and competing. You’ll make some mistakes, and some horses will disappoint you. With Artisan Farms behind me, and Tiffany, they’ve made it possible and not be afraid to buy young horses, trying to find a special one, and get great horses to compete on. We’re very fortunate to have that.”
With an Artisan Farms 1-2 finish, Lamaze was happy. “We’re all on the same team, and you have to cheer for each other. If [Tiffany] went after me, she probably could have caught what I just did on Rosana. She had one down and went earlier, but she came back to finish second, which is a very good result,” he said.
The highlight competition at the ‘National’, presented by Rolex, on Sunday, June 12, is the $175,000 CNOOC Nexen Cup Derby and ATCO Classic 1.45m.