November 12, 2008 – Toronto, Ontario – Olympic gold medalist Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON, thrilled his fans by riding Hickstead to victory in the $100,000 CN World Cup Grand Prix held Wednesday evening at the Royal Horse Show in Toronto, ON.
Lamaze and his Olympic Gold Medal horse were in a league of their own as they sailed over the shortened jump-off track, having already left all the rails in place during the first round of competition. A total of 11 horse and rider combinations advanced to the jump-off, but none came close to catching Lamaze’s winning time of 35.80 seconds. The first rider on course, American Olympian Lauren Hough, placed second after stopping the clock at 37.53 seconds riding Quick Study.
The $100,000 CN World Cup Grand Prix was Hickstead’s only appearance during the 10-day Royal Horse Show, which runs through Saturday, and the win brought down the house in the sold-out Ricoh Coliseum.
“Whenever you really need him, he is always there,” said Lamaze of Hickstead. “It was not the biggest class he has done, but it was the most important, in front of the home crowd. It was fitting to have him win here. I wanted this for the crowd. He is a wonderful horse.”
Hickstead, a 12-year-old Dutch-bred stallion, is owned by Ashland Stables of Wellington, FL, and Lamaze’s own Torrey Pines Stable. In a special ceremony held prior to the $100,000 CN World Cup Grand Prix, Lamaze and his teammates received a standing ovation in recognition of the Individual Gold and Team Silver Medals won at this summer’s Olympic Games. The Team horse owners were also recognized for the important role they played in Canada’s success.
“To come back here after a gold and team medal and win is very special,” smiled Lamaze, who was making his first competitive appearance in Toronto since the 2008 Olympic Games. “Everyone says congratulations, but everyone does it in a different way. I never get tired of it.”
Since the Olympic Games, Lamaze, currently the number two ranked rider in the world, and Hickstead have won the €60,000 Grand Prix of Caen in France and placed second in the €200,000 Grand Prix of Deauville, France. The pair will now return to return Europe to participate in the Rolex Top Ten Final, featuring the top ten ranked riders in the world, held as part of the CSI5* Brussels Horse Show in Belgium from November 27-30.