August 2, 2009 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil –Olympic Champions Eric Lamaze and Hickstead finished a close second in the €285,000 Global Champions Tour Grand Prix held Saturday, August 1, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
After two rounds of show jumping, five horse-rider combinations from the original 41-horse starting field were still clear to force a jump-off. Second back for the jump-off with his Olympic partner Hickstead, Lamaze again left all the rails in place and crossed the timers in 36.51 seconds. Of the three riders who followed, only Gianni Govoni of Italy was able to better Lamaze’s performance, turning in a clear round in a time of 36.15 seconds to take the win aboard Joyau d’Opal. For his second place finish, Lamaze collected €57,000 in prize money.
“I put in seven strides to the second fence and I knew I might have lost a bit on the turns as Hickstead doesn’t find those so easy, and he does spend a fair bit of time in the air, so I did think the time could be beaten,” said Lamaze of his jump-off performance with Hickstead, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood breeding stallion owned by Torrey Pines and Ashland Stables.
In other competition on Saturday, Lamaze finished seventh in the €40,000 Rio de Janeiro Challenge. From a 51-horse starting field, 19 entries posted clear rounds to advance to the jump-off. Lamaze and Take Off, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, were again clear in the jump-off, with their time of 35.28 seconds placing them seventh overall. Again the winner was Italy’s Govoni who guided Love Affair home in a time of 31.80 seconds.
Heavy rains forced the cancellation of competition on Thursday and Friday in Rio.
Following Rio de Janeiro, Lamaze will contest the next leg of the Global Champions Tour in Valkenswaard, NED. He will return to Canada in September to compete in the Spruce Meadows “Masters” Tournament in Calgary, AB.