Barcelona, Spain – 2008 Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze produced two clear rounds in the €1,500,000 Furusiyya FEI Nations’ Cup Final to lead Canada to a sixth place finish among 18 countries vying for the inaugural title. The Real Club de Polo de Barcelona hosted the four-day CSIO5* show jumping event from September 26 to 29.
The two-round Nations’ Cup competition was held over two days. All 18 countries lined out on Friday, with the top eight advancing to Sunday’s Final. Lamaze of Schomberg, ON, riding Powerplay and Tiffany Foster of Vancouver, BC, riding Verdi III both produced clear rounds in Friday’s competition, enabling Canada to finish seventh and advance to the second round of competition where an unprecedented €1,500,000 in prize money was on offer.
In Sunday’s competition, Foster faulted at the difficult plank vertical set after the water, adding four faults to Canada’s team total. Jonathan Asselin would provide the drop score while Mac Cone’s 13 faults on Amor van de Rostal would be counted. Riding in the anchor position, Lamaze produced another clear round on Powerplay, giving Canada a sixth place finish with a total of 17 faults and a €90,000 share of prize money. France won the €1,500,000 Furusiyya FEI Nations’ Cup Final with an eight fault total, followed in the standings by Brazil (nine faults), Ireland (12 faults), Netherlands (12 faults) and Belgium (16 faults).
“I think to finish sixth in this company without Ian Millar is a very good accomplishment,” said Lamaze of the Canadian team’s result. “Sixth place we will gladly take. This was the top of the sport. The course designer (Santiago Varela of Spain) is a brilliant man. No horses struggled to the point of injury or losing confidence. It was a World Championship or Olympic-type competition in a beautiful setting.”
Making the competition even more interesting, a €200,000 bonus purse was offered for riders who jumped double clear. With only Lamaze and Great Britain’s anchor rider, 2012 Olympic gold team medalist Scott Brash, producing double clear rounds over two gruelling days of competition, each were awarded €100,000 in recognition of their significant achievements.
“I was happy for the horse; I think he delivered incredible performances for us,” said Lamaze in praise of Powerplay, a nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Casall x Limbus). “The double clear is something very close to my heart. I’ve had so many great moments in the sport, and this will go down as one of them.”
Powerplay was purchased at the end of May, at the same time that Foster’s mount, Verdi III, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Hors La Loi II x Cantus), was acquired by Artisan Farms. Both horses came from Pius Schwizer of Switzerland and have only had a couple of months to form a partnership with their new riders.
“It is really unexpected,” said Lamaze, 45. “Usually, you need time to get to know the horse to be able to compete at this level. To accomplish this is really something special. This was the best of the best.”
Earlier in the week, Lamaze placed third in the €23,500 1.45m Estrella Damm Trophy and fourth in the €30,000 1.45m Coca Cola Trophy riding Quelmec du Gery, a nine-year-old selle francais gelding (Pamphile x Jasper) also owned by Artisan Farms.
Foster, 29, was fourth in Saturday’s €50,000 1.50m Queen’s Cup Trophy, having placed sixth in the €120,000 1.55m City of Barcelona Trophy on Friday. Her mount for both classes was Victor, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Elmshorn x Grandeur) owned by Artisan Farms and Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable.
Also representing Canada was Yann Candele of Caledon, ON, who arrived in Barcelona on short notice. Riding Brooklyn Blues for owner Carol Sollak, Candele came close to winning Sunday morning’s €23,500 1.45m La Caixa Trophy, but was beaten to the wire by Maikel van der Vleuten of The Netherlands. Candele got off to a strong start, placing sixth in Thursday’s €30,000 1.45m Coca Cola Trophy riding Dakata vd Knuffel, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare generously loaned for the week by Belgium’s Gilbert de Roock.
“It was great to have Yann in Europe, competing against the best in the world and showing everyone that this is where that he belongs,” said Lamaze of his 2010 World Equestrian Games teammate.
Lamaze continued, “It was true championship competition, and it is amazing to have these kinds of results. For Tiffany to produce such solid scores, and for the horses to jump so well so soon after purchasing them, was incredible. It was a great weekend for Canada, and it was a great weekend for Artisan Farms. It doesn’t get any better than this!”
Lamaze and Foster both ride for Artisan Farms, with bases in Vrasene, Belgium, and Wellington, Florida.