Eric Lamaze and Wang Chung M2S Win in Wellington
|Eric Lamaze and Wang Chung M2S won the $25,000 ESP Jumper Stake on Saturday, March 3, at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival.
Photo by Sportfot
March 3 , 2012 – Wellington, Florida — Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON, scored his second victory of the week, guiding Wang Chung M2S to the win in the $25,000 ESP Jumper Stake on Saturday, March 3, at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL.
On Thursday, March 1, Lamaze topped a starting field of 82 entries to win the $32,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round VIII riding Coriana van Klapscheut for owners Artisan Farms and his Torrey Pines Stable. Two days later, he returned to the winner’s circle, this time riding Wang Chung M2S, after claiming victory in the $25,000 ESP Jumper Stake during week eight of the 12-week FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival.
A total of 55 horses attempted the track set by course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio with 15 posting clear rounds to qualify for the jump-off. Reed Kessler of Armonk, New York, negotiated the shortened jump-off track in 39.31 seconds riding Ligist, but Lamaze and Wang Chung M2S shaved a full second off their leading time, stopping the clock at 38.30.
“It was a good course and the jump-off was quite fast,” said Lamaze whose student, 17-year-old Caitlin Ziegler, joined him in the jump-off with two horses. “Reed was fast enough, it was just a matter of a couple of turns that I turned tight and fast to.”
Lamaze began riding Wang Chung M2S last summer after owner and breeder Tom Reed of Morningside Stud in Ireland offered him the ride. They now own the horse in partnership. While Lamaze has great hopes for the future with the nine-year-old chestnut Dutch Warmblood stallion, he is not declared for 2012 Olympic contention.
“He is starting to feel better; the quarantine took a lot out of him,” said Lamaze of the 30-day required quarantine period for stallions entering the United States. “He is starting to feel fresh again and jump like he did in Europe, so that is good news.”
Lamaze did ride one of his Olympic hopefuls, Derly Chin de Muze, in Friday night’s $75,000 G&C Farms Nations’ Cup. While Canada placed third overall among the 10 countries competing with nine faults, behind Germany who won with four faults and Ireland with eight faults, Lamaze posted double clear rounds riding in the anchor position with Derly Chin de Muze.
“I was pleased with her,” said Lamaze of the nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare he owns in partnership with Ashland Stables, who also owned Hickstead. “She had already really impressed me in the $100,000 CSI3* Grand Prix a week earlier when she was really good, showing maturity and mileage. I left her off that and went straight into the Nations’ Cup. I wasn’t sure if I should do another class with her before or not, but I decided to go with my instincts. In the Nations’ Cup, she jumped really well in both rounds and felt really comfortable.”
As to whether Derly Chin de Muze’s success in the Nations’ Cup helps him decide which horse to focus on for the 2012 London Olympics, Lamaze explained, “She is only nine years old, and she hasn’t done anything internationally yet. You don’t want to decide about the Olympics based on a circuit like Wellington where the horses go in the same ring every week. It is going to be decided in Europe when we see how she handles jumping in different venues. You might feel that she is a year short, but she feels like she has more experience than I would have thought at this point. It is just a matter of maintaining her and seeing how she jumps.”
Lamaze will continue competing in Wellington, Florida, until the end of March. He will then return to Belgium to compete at several European venues before attending the Spruce Meadows summer tournaments in Calgary, Canada. Following observation trials at Spruce Meadows, the Canadian Show Jumping Team Selection Committee will announce the candidates for the 2012 London Olympic Games in mid-June.