Canada’s Eric Lamaze led the Hamburg Diamonds to victory and also claimed individual honours riding Chacco Kid in the €155,000 Global Champions League team event held September 22 and 23 in Rome, Italy.
Lamaze and his team, the Hamburg Diamonds, were at the top of the leaderboard coming into Rome, which acted as the penultimate competition prior to the Global Champions League Final in Doha, Qatar, from November 9 to 11. Held over two days, Lamaze and teammate, Harrie Smolders of The Netherlands riding Don VHP Z, both incurred four faults in Friday’s opening round of competition. Coming back for Saturday’s second round, both riders produced clear efforts to give the Hamburg Diamonds the overall win and increase its lead in the Global Champions League standings to 295 points over Valkenswaard United with 278 points.
Individually, Lamaze and Chacco Kid produced the fastest clear round to top the leaderboard, with their time of 68.61 seconds holding off 2012 Olympic team gold medalist Scott Brash of Great Britain riding Hello Forever, who stopped the clock in 69.40 seconds. Roger-Yves Bost of France took third individually with a time of 71.55 seconds riding Pegase du Murier.
For the win with Chacco Kid, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Chacco Blue x Come On), Lamaze collected €51,150 in prize money for the Chacco Kid Group.
“It was a great win for the Hamburg Diamonds, and the win for Chacco Kid was exciting!” said Lamaze, who won individual gold and team silver medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics with Hickstead, followed by an individual bronze with Fine Lady 5 at the 2016 Rio Olympics. “What he accomplished shows great maturity. Last year, he was an inexperienced horse. Now, coming here from the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ tournament, he was ready to go full speed over a 1.60m course against the best horses and riders in the world.
“It was a great win for the Chacco Kid Group!” continued Lamaze, 49, of the horse’s owners, namely himself, Andy and Carlene Ziegler, Rick and Sara Mershad, and Carol and Ludi Sollak. “He is a horse that had to fill in for Fine Lady last year in order for her to get to the Rio Olympics in top form, and he ended up doing a few things that maybe weren’t ideal for a young horse, like the Nations’ Cup in Aachen, but he managed. Last year, I would not run him in any classes as I wanted to give him the best experience that I could but, this year, he is ready to take some risks and compete against the best.”
Saturday’s Global Champions League team competition also acted as the first round of the €300,000 CSI5* Longines Global Champions Tour Rome Grand Prix. With his win aboard Chacco Kid, Lamaze had the advantage of going last in the Grand Prix. As the format allows riders to switch horses, Lamaze saddled up Coco Bongo, but a rail late on course left the pair in 11th place in the final standings. On Friday, Lamaze and Coco Bongo, a 12-year-old Rheinlander gelding (Caretino x Calido) owned by Andy and Carlene Ziegler’s Artisan Farms LLC and Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable, had jumped double clear for a top ten placing in the €25,000 Two Phase 1.45m competition.
“Coco Bongo jumped really well in the grand prix, just a cheap four faults at the end of a huge course,” said Lamaze of his 2015 Pan American Games team gold medal partner. “He feels really good heading into the Nations’ Cup Final in Barcelona. I am looking forward to that!”
Lamaze’s next stop is CSIO5* Barcelona, Spain, where the Longines FEI Nations’ Cup Final will begin on Thursday, September 28. Joining Lamaze in representing the Canadian Show Jumping Team will be Yann Candele of Caledon, ON, Tiffany Foster of North Vancouver, BC, and Chris Pratt, currently based in Valencia, California.