August 22, 2009 – Valkenswaard, The Netherlands – Eric Lamaze and Hickstead finished fourth in the €285,000 Global Champions Tour Grand Prix held Saturday, August 22, in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands, to book his ticket to the Global Champions Tour Final in Doha, Qatar.
While 50 horses started the competition, seven were clear after two rounds of jumping to force a jump-off. Although Lamaze and his Olympic Champion horse, Hickstead, are known for their speed, the pair could not catch Australia’s Edwina Alexander who posted a time of 35.49 seconds in the jump-off with Isovlas Itot de Chateau to take the victory. Second place went to reigning World Cup Champion Meredith Michaels Beerbaum of Germany and Shutterfly who crossed the timers in 35.81 seconds while Michel Robert of France riding Kellemoi de Pepita took third with a time of 35.95 seconds. Lamaze’s time of 36.43 was fast enough to hold off World Champion Jos Lansink of Belgium who placed fifth riding Valentina Van’t Heike.
With his fourth place finish in the €285,000 Global Champions Tour Grand Prix at CSI5* Valkenswaard, Lamaze confirmed his place at the Global Champions Tour Final in Doha, Qatar, in November. The top 25 riders in the standings are invited to compete, and Lamaze is ranked 16th. Lamaze only contested two of the eight legs comprising the 2009 Global Champions Tour, but his strong results earned him a trip to Doha. On August 1, Lamaze and Hickstead, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood breeding stallion owned by Torrey Pines and Ashland Stables, finished a close second in the €285,000 Global Champions Tour Grand Prix in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Earlier in the day, Lamaze guided Take Off, owned by Artisan Farms, to victory in the €20,000 Medium Tour speed class. Beating out a starting field of 45 horses, Lamaze guided the nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare home in a time of 54.33 seconds to narrowly stay ahead of Ireland’s Jessica Kurten who stopped the clock in 54.37 seconds with Castle Forbes Cosma.
Also on Saturday, Lamaze placed third in the Six and Seven-Year-Old Young Horse competition with Coriana van Klapscheut, a seven-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare by Darco. The pair placed second in Friday’s competition, and currently sit atop a 70-horse field heading into Sunday’s Young Horse Final.
“I am really enjoying this show,” said Lamaze, who on Friday, celebrated the one year anniversary of his Gold Medal victory at the 2008 Olympic Games. “It is just like the ones back home with lots going on, lots of people teaching and training as well as jumping. It has been good fun.”
Lamaze will return to Canada in September to compete in the Spruce Meadows “Masters” Tournament held September 9-13 in Calgary, AB, where he and Hickstead will be members of Canada’s Nations’ Cup team before returning to Europe the following week to compete in Barcelona, Spain.