Hot off his victory in Thursday’s $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round III riding Houston, Lamaze returned to the winner’s circle on Saturday night after capturing the $130,000 CSI3* Adequan Grand Prix with Fine Lady 5, his individual bronze medal partner at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Forty-three of the world’s top riders lined out for Saturday night’s competition, jumping tracks set by Belgian course designer Luc Musette. Seven posted clear rounds to advance to the all-deciding jump-off. The first three competitors had each incurred a rail when Lamaze entered the International Arena and put the first clear round on the board in a time of 40.26 seconds. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, who claimed a bronze medal as part of the German team in Rio, was next to challenge, and appeared to be giving Lamaze a run for his money before stopping the clock in 40.79 seconds riding Comanche 28. The final challenger, Sergio Alvarez Moya of Spain, who is making his Winter Equestrian Festival debut, also looked to be on track to catch Lamaze’s time before crossing the timers in 40.80 seconds to place third riding G&C Unicstar d’Laumone.
“Every time I make a plan for her, she just seems to rise to the occasion,” said Lamaze of the 14-year-old Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Drosselklang II) owned by Andy and Carlene Ziegler’s Artisan Farms and his Torrey Pines Stable. “She’s become a horse you can really rely on, and know that she will be ready when it counts. This was a difficult course, but she’s done some very big classes lately. It was hard, but, for her, it was a little bit of an easier class.”The $130,000 CSI3* Adequan Grand Prix marked Fine Lady 5’s first competition of the year, having closed out the 2016 season by winning the €300,000 Rolex Top Ten Final in Geneva, Switzerland.
“I gave her a long rest after the Olympics, and started back and just did Paris and Geneva at the beginning of December,” said Lamaze of Fine Lady 5’s competition schedule. “I plan on riding her at the Winter Equestrian Festival here since she is already fit from Geneva. She will do quite a bit at the beginning of the circuit, and then we’ll give her a rest before returning to Europe.”
Lamaze will continue to compete on the Florida circuit for the duration of the winter season before heading back to his training base in Belgium. Next up for Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 is the CSI3*-W Palm Beach Masters, running from February 2 to 5 in Wellington, FL.