November 12, 2009 – Doha, Qatar – Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON, and Hickstead won the €50,000 Qualifier, which acted as the opening leg of the Global Champions Tour Final, on Thursday, November 12, in Doha, Qatar.
Twenty-five of the best show jumping riders from around the world were invited to contest the Global Champions Tour Final in Qatar where €1.4 million in prize money is on the line. The top 18 riders from Thursday’s Qualifier move forward to the €900,000 Global Champions Tour Final on Saturday night, broadcast live on Eurosport.
On Thursday, Lamaze was competing out of 13th position in the order, which proved to be anything but unlucky for the Canadian star. Lamaze and Hickstead were clear over the course designed by Conrad Homfeld and stopped the clock in 72.25 seconds to move into the lead. Bernardo Alves came the closest to beating Lamaze’s time with Chupa Chup, but 73.13 would leave the Brazilian in second place. Dutch favourites Albert Zoer and Oki Doki placed third with a clear round in a time of 75.63.
“Hickstead feels great,” said Lamaze of the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion owned by Ashland Stables and his own Torrey Pines Stable. “Everything is on track for Saturday night. We will be jumping for a lot of money. We will do our best.”
Competing in reverse order of finish from Thursday’s Qualifier, Lamaze will have the luxury of being the final rider into the competition arena on Saturday night and will know exactly what needs to be done to win.
Lamaze has also been enjoying success in Doha with his second mount, Take Off, owned by Artisan Farms. On Wednesday, Lamaze guided the nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare to a second place finish in the €25,000 1.45m competition behind 2004 Olympic Champion Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil riding Cazino.
The Global Champions Tour is comprised of eight of the highest calibre show jumping events around the globe. To earn their ticket to the Global Champions Tour Final in Qatar, Lamaze and Hickstead were a close second in the €285,000 Global Champions Tour Grand Prix in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in July, and fourth in the €285,000 Global Champions Tour Grand Prix in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands, in August.