Fourth time is the charm for Canada’s Eric Lamaze!
Riding his Rio Olympic bronze medal partner, Fine Lady 5, Lamaze claimed the €300,000 Rolex Top Ten Final Friday night in Geneva, Switzerland.
The class sees the top 10 riders in the world rankings go head-to-head in a two-round showdown. Lamaze and the 13-year-old Hanoverian mare posted the fastest clear in the opening round, earning them the luxury of going last in the all-deciding second round of competition.
The time to beat was set by current world number one Christian Ahlmann and Taloubet Z at 43.05 seconds. Lamaze and the ever speedy Fine Lady 5 shaved close to a half second off his time, stopping the clock at 42.56 seconds to take the win. Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat was the only other rider to jump double clear, placing third riding Corbinian with a time of 44.30 seconds.
“Going last gave me an advantage in the jump-off,” said Lamaze, who is currently ranked number six in the world. “I thought Christian Ahlmann was not going to be beatable, but my gallop to the last fence won it for me!
“It’s a big win!” continued the 2008 Olympic Champion. “The Rolex Top Ten is one of the most prestigious competitions that we have throughout the year, showcasing the best riders in the world riding their best horses at this moment in time. A grand prix is a grand prix, but the Rolex Top Ten is something special. Having been second once before, having been so close, it means a lot to me to win. And especially on this mare that had such an unbelievable Olympics—it’s like her gold medal!”
Lamaze has contested the Rolex IJRC Top Ten Final four times in his career. His best prior finish was in 2011 when he was the runner-up riding Coriana van Klapscheut. His other three appearances, in 2008, 2009 and 2010, were all aboard the legendary stallion Hickstead.
Lamaze is the only Canadian to have ever contested the Rolex IJRC Top Ten Final in its 16-year history.
“As a Canadian, I am extremely proud to bring this title back to Canada,” he said. “I hope this gives great hope to the new generation of riders back home. Everything is possible.”
Come Sunday afternoon, Lamaze will contest the Rolex Grand Prix—the third leg of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, following Aachen, Germany, in July and Calgary, Canada, in September. Scott Brash (GBR) is the current live contender for the €1 million bonus offered to any rider able to win all three grand prix events in succession, having won the last event at Calgary’s Spruce Meadows ‘Masters.’
Catch the Rolex Grand Prix on Livestream.