Canada’s Eric Lamaze is on a winning streak, and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. For the fourth consecutive week, the 2008 Olympic Gold medalist claimed victory in the Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL.
Held each Thursday, Lamaze of Schomberg, ON, won the first two events in the WEF Challenge Cup Series riding Rosana du Park, and has now scored back-to-back wins with Fine Lady 5. That brings his total to four consecutive wins in the WEF Challenge Cup Series, setting a new record at the modern day Winter Equestrian Festival.
For his fourth consecutive win, Lamaze was the 42nd rider in the order among a 72-horse starting field. The fourth competition in the WEF Challenge Cup Series was held as a speed event, meaning that the fastest clear round would take the win. Lamaze left nothing to chance, galloping around the track set by 2016 Olympic course designer Guilherme Jorge of Brazil in a time of 63.08 seconds. American Andrew Ramsey was the only rider who would even come close to catching Lamaze’s time, but still finished more than two full seconds off the pace, clocking in at 65.13 riding Winn Winn. French rider Marie Hecart, who formerly rode for Lamaze, gave it her best shot to finish third in 66.41 seconds with Myself de Breve.
“I have the perfect horse for the format, she is super-fast, so for me it worked out,” said Lamaze of the speed competition. “I have some very good horses at the moment, well-rested horses. I take Florida seriously. I stopped competing after Barcelona (in October) so all the horses could rest and then try to come here and have them really fresh to compete.”
His strategy is obviously paying off. Of winning four consecutive WEF Challenge Cup Series events, Lamaze, 46, reflected, “You don’t expect to win three in a row, and you don’t expect to win four in a row, but when you have good, competitive horses, anything can happen. As I said last week, we are very lucky to have Andy and Carlene Zielger and Artisan Farms behind us.”
Lamaze had nothing but praise for his winning mount, Fine Lady 5, a 12-year-old Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Drosselklang II) owned by Artisan Farms LLC.
“This mare is class,” said Lamaze. “She’s dependable when you get to the fence. You give her a fair chance to see where she’s going, and she’s going to give you all she has. She’s very quick across the ground, very quick in the air. She carries natural speed.
“She’s my kind of ride,” continued Lamaze of the horse purchased in April of 2014 after being successfully campaigned by Holger Wulschner of Germany. “She’s knows why she’s out there, she’s competitive, she likes to fight, she’s a blood horse. She was winning when I got her, so this is nothing new to her. I’m just continuing what she was already doing. She’s a great horse.”
In addition to winning the $127,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round IV, Lamaze was also a four-time winner in the SSG Gloves “Go Clean for the Green” promotion. For wearing SSG ‘Digital’ style gloves on his way to victory, Lamaze was awarded another $3,000 bonus, bringing his total SSG Gloves bonus money won to date to $12,000.
“I love that they make me win; they are obviously lucky gloves!” laughed Lamaze. “The bonus money adds up, winning $12,000 just in bonus money from the gloves! They are a great quality glove, and great to wear. With the bonus on top of already great prize money, it adds up. $12,000 extra is $12,000 extra. The sponsorship is great, and the riders love it.”
Lamaze will aim to extend his winning streak into Saturday night’s $372,000 CSI5*-W World Cup Grand Prix, presented by Fidelity Investments. Looking ahead, Lamaze is considering Fine Lady 5 as his mount for the 2015 Pan American Games to be hosted by Toronto, Canada, in July.
For more information on Eric Lamaze, please visit www.ericlamaze.com.
Photo by Sportfot