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Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 storm to victory in € 100,000 Turkish Airlines-Prize of Europe

Wednesday, 19 July 2017
CSIO5* Aachen 2017

Photo (c) Nanna Nieminen for World of Showjumping. The winning team: Eric, Fine Lady 5 and Bo. Photo (c) Nanna Nieminen for World of Showjumping.

Wednesday's biggest class in Aachen was the 100,000 Euro Turkish Airlines-Prize of Europe, a 1.55m jump-off class – that also served as a qualifier for Sunday's Rolex Grand Prix. With 59 starters in it, the class turned out to offer lots of drama in the form of very difficult weather conditions; halfway through the class a strong wind blew over the Soers' showgrounds, knocking over fences and later on the skies opened and it did not rain – it poured. Cedric Angot (FRA) on the 11-year-old Saxo de la Cour (Tlaloc M x Jalisco B) was the unlucky combination in the ring at the very moment, but against all odds they produced one of the 20 clear rounds in the class. 

"Today we have to be very honest: We did not have the nicest circumstances," said Ludger Beerbaum after the class. "During the whole class it looked like there would be a thunder storm with dark clouds and lightning. And even before it really rains, this scares the horses – believe me. Then we had the period of time with very heavy rain. Especially for Christian (Ahlmann) and Marco (Kutscher), the circumstances were not similar – they had very, very bad conditions."

The class was stopped during the heaviest rain and after the clouds parted, the competition continued and in the end 20 combinations made it to the jump-off. Luciana Diniz (POR) on the 13-year-old mare Fit For Fun (For Pleasure x Fabriano) took an early lead with a time of 45,73 seconds, only to be pushed to finish on the eight spot with the tiniest of margins.

It was Eric Lamaze (CAN) on the 14-year-old mare Fine Lady 5 (Forsyth FRH x Drosselklang II) – Rio bronze medalists – that repeated their win from last year with a time of 42,97 seconds. "Last year was an Olympic year, so I had to protect her a little bit," Eric told the press after the class, referring to his decision not to jump in Sunday's Rolex Grand Prix last year. "This year I have a plan to ride her in the Rolex Gran Prix as well. I think as an opening competition here in Aachen, perhaps the time allowed was a little bit generous," he commented on the high number of rides in the jump-off. "But this is Aachen – you have the best riders of the world, and the horses jumped well today, so this is the result you get," Lamaze continued.

Ludger Beerbaum (GER) on the 14-year-old mare Chiara (Contender x Coronado 3) placed in runner-up position with a time of 43,05 seconds. "I was very lucky; I was warming up under the roof at the moment when the weather was at the worst, so I feel very fortunate," Beerbaum commented after the class. "I think the circumstances were handled in the best way possible, but it was pretty tough. The ground made a funny noise as it got so wet – this was not easy for the horses. Specially the younger ones, who are not used to these conditions, it was a special situation. I just went as fast as I could."

Bertram Allen (IRL) on the 13-year-old mare Molly Malone V (Kannan x Cavalier) took the third spot with a time of 43,06 seconds. "Molly was fantastic today," Allen said. "She knows the weather – we have won a few Grand Prix's in bad weather, so I did not worry when it started to rain. I waited a few moments under the roof when it started, so I was lucky." When asked how it felt to end third with such small margins, Allen laughed: "I did not realize how close it was, until Steve (Guerdat) told me. It was so close from one to fifth anyway, so I was lucky to end up in the middle."  

Cian O'Connor (IRL) on the 11-year-old stallion Good Luck (Canturo x Furioso II) placed fourth with a time of 43,09 seconds and Lauren Hough (USA) on the 13-year-old mare Ohlala (Orlando x Cardento) took the fifth spot with a time of 43,20 seconds. 

Frank Kemperman, Event Director of CHIO Aachen, explained that for some reason Wednesday is always a difficult day: "Today we had to stop all three disciplines due to the weather. We did what we did, it was not easy – it is like it is. I am happy Wednesday is over now – somehow this day is always hard with the weather. We had 24 000 spectators today, it was a quiet day. Tomorrow is sold out!" 

The first CSI5* class of the day, a 1.45m against the clock, the Prize of Handwerk, went to Philip Rüping (GER) on Chalypsa (Chacco Blue x Sandro) with a time of 60,10 seconds. Harrie Smolders (NED) on Zinius (Nabab de Reve x Kannan) was second with a time of 61,56 seconds and Mario Stevens (GER) on El Bandiata B (El Bundy x Picard) placed third with a time of 61,69 seconds. Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) on H&M Zilverstar T (Berlin x Cavalier) placed fourth with a time of 62,63 seconds and the fifth spot went to Werner Muff (SUI) on Cosby (Contendro I x Landadel) with a time of 63,45 seconds. 

 


Text and picture © World of Showjumping by Nanna Nieminen

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