Fun fact: it’s getting increasingly difficult to come up with creative ways to announce that Eric Lamaze (CAN) has won the WEF Challenge Cup. Yet again.
Related: do you think it ever gets old hat for the Canadian veteran? Like, “Oh, this old thing? I’ve had it in my pocket for ages.” *Blows nose into cooler*
The three-time Olympic medalist logged a record setting 28th WEF Challenge Cup victory at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL on Thursday when he claimed the $35,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 10. It’s his third victory in the series this season and his first on Chesney. (Lamaze also won Week 2 and Week 3’s class with Chacco Kid.)
Originally purchased from Germany’s Marcus Beerbaum, the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding campaigned under Canadian and Artisan Farm teammate, Tiffany Foster, from 2015 to 2017. Lamaze took over the ride in February last year and has been competing Chesney primarily in 1.40m and 1.45m classes.
“I must say, today’s a big step up [for Chesney],” said the 49-year-old rider. “I didn’t have a WEF [Challenge Cup] planned for him on this circuit to be honest, but we’re coming down to the end. We have horses in Europe; we have Mexico next week and all of that, so some of them have to step up, and how great it is that he responded that way!”
Of the 85 entries to contest designer Michel Vaillancourt’s course, nine advanced to jump off. Lamaze and Chesney stopped the clock at 36.59 seconds to take the victory.
“I really have respect for how careful he is. I love careful horses, and he sure is a catty one that I think actually has quite a bit of jump in him,” enthused Lamaze. “You don’t know—a few of these jump-offs, and their wings start sailing and before you know it—Fine Lady was the same thing. So I really believe in him. I think he’s a first-class horse.”
USA’s Amber Harte and Austria 2 took second place with a time of 37.07 seconds. Georgina Bloomberg (USA) and Manodie II H,were third in 37.50 seconds.
The question now is: can Lamaze make it an even four before the circuit is out?
The phenomenally consistent Canadian will contest one more WEF Challenge Cup this season during Week 12. (After he competes in the opening leg of the 2018 Global Champions Tour in Mexico City.) But watch for him first in Saturday night’s $132,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI3* with Coco Bongo.