|Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze Scores Victory in Florida
|Eric Lamaze and Coriana van Klapscheut won the $32,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round VIII on Thursday, March 1, at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL.
Photo by Sportfot
March 1 , 2012 – Wellington, Florida — Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON, topped a starting field of 82 horses to win the $32,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round VIII on Thursday, March 1, at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL.
Lamaze was the first rider of the day to post a clear round over the course designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio before nine others followed suit with fault-free performances. First to return for the jump-off, Lamaze and Coriana van Klapscheut set the pace, posting a clear round in a time of 37.04 seconds. None who followed could catch their time. British Olympic veteran Nick Skelton came closest, stopping the clock in 37.99 seconds riding Carlo 273 to place second.
“I can’t say I had it, but I know that she’s extremely fast and she spends no time in the air,” said Lamaze of his jump-off performance. “It’s extremely competitive in these jump-off’s, and I thought for sure I gave it a very good go. If I went again, I don’t think I could beat that time.”
Lamaze, 43, has been riding Coriana van Klapscheut, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Artisan Farms and his Torrey Pines Stable, since 2009. Last year, she was Lamaze’s mount at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, and closed out the 2011 season with a second place finish in the €200,000 Rolex Top 10 Final held in Paris, France.
“She’s a horse that I have mostly used as a speed horse,” explained Lamaze. “Behind Hickstead, she was always the second horse. I always thought she was brave and could jump the big fences, but she was never asked the question too many times. When I had no choice at the end of the year, she surprised me. It was a pleasant surprise, not only that she did it, but that she did it easily. She was second in the Top 10 in Paris, and that’s one of the most difficult classes in the world that I’ve ever been in.”
Of his win on the 12-week FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Lamaze continued, “It was nice because on this circuit, I mostly have horses that I don’t know well or horses that have little experience. That’s what I use this circuit for, for preparation for the rest of the year. It was fun to ride Coriana, a horse that I know really well and that I know I can be competitive on.”
In addition to winning the $32,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round VIII with Coriana van Klapscheut, Lamaze also placed 11th with Hunter’s Scendix, a horse that came into his stable at the end of 2011. In the horse’s first appearance in the weekly $32,000 WEF Challenge Cup series, he and Lamaze jumped clear but exceeded the 76 second time allowed, stopping the clock in 76.11 seconds.
“He’s extremely good and he’s extremely careful,” said Lamaze of the nine-year-old Hannoverian stallion his Torrey Pines Stable owns in partnership with LVS Hunters of Belgium. “He reminds me very much of a Hickstead. He’s very much the same type of horse. I have to get used to him and I need to get to know him, but you can’t help but feel excited watching that horse jump.”
Riding alongside Ian Millar, Yann Candele and Tiffany Foster, Lamaze will represent Canada in the $75,000 G & C Nations’ Cup on Friday evening, March 2. One of only two Nations’ Cup events held in North America, the Nations’ Cup in Wellington will see 10 countries battling for victory. Lamaze will ride Derly Chin de Muze, a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Ashland Stables and Torrey Pines Stable, in the two-round Nations’ Cup event.
“I feel like I have put together a really good string of horses,” said Lamaze, who has acquired seven new horses since losing his Olympic gold medal partner, Hickstead, last November. “It will be fun to mix them around a bit.”
Lamaze will continue competing in Wellington, Florida, until the end of March. He will then return to his base in Belgium, only returning to North America for the Spruce Meadows summer tournaments in Calgary, Canada. He then hopes to successfully defend his title at the 2012 London Olympic Games in August.