In a thrilling jump-off, Canada’s Eric Lamaze and the wonderful Fine Lady took the victory in the CSIO5* 1.55m Turkish Airlines Prize of Europe at CHIO Aachen. With a total of eighteen clear riders in the first round, a lightning fast jump-off was guaranteed. But Eric Lamaze’s extremely fast mare Fine Lady (Forsyth x Drosselklang II) turned out unbeatable.
Although the course of the Prize of Europe seemed to be tough and delicate with oxer number 4 followed by the open water on only six strides and the double of liverpools underneath as obstacle 7ab, many riders cleared the course without a rail. Besides the eighteen clear rounds, five riders finished on only a time penalty and another five with only a foot in the water.
As eighth rider in the jump-off, Germany’s Daniel Deusser was the first to deliver a clear aboard First Class van Eeckelghem (Balou du Rouet x Feinschnitt vd Richter), finishing in 47.25 seconds. Daniel Deusser went just after USA’s Beezie Madden, who had a wonderful jump-off on Quister (Kannan x Eyken des Fontenis) but after knocking down the delicate vertical at fence 16 Madden finished on 4/41.90 seconds.
Germany’s Christian Ahlmann and the 16-year-old stallion Taloubet Z (Galoubet A x Polydor) immediately took over the lead from his compatriot Daniel Deusser, finishing in 45.19 seconds. But, Canada’s Eric Lamaze was just about to do something amazing with Fine Lady. In a jump-off without hesitation or a second distance, Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady were flying over the jumps in a time of 41.35 seconds. “She is a fantastic mare! She is extremely competitive and you just know that you have a chance to win it in any class. She is fast and she has the heart to do it, so for me it is a perfect horse,” Eric commented on his mare.
Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet showed his great talent Coree (Cornet Obolensky x Liberty Life) and finished in 42.68 seconds – eventually a fourth place. France’s number one on the world ranking Simon Delestre rode his competitive stallion Qlassic Bois Margot (L’Arc de Triomphe x Galoubet A) to the runner-up position in 41.74 seconds. “I knew Fine Lady was very, very fast, but Qlassic is fast too! Especially in a big arena like this, but in the end Eric turned out faster,” Simon said afterwards.
After both Laura Kraut aboard Cavalia (Vingino x Manhattan) and Bertram Allen aboard Romanov (Heartbreaker x Fedor) knocked down the last fence, Belgium’s Olivier Philippaerts showed his class on H&M Challenge v. Begijnakker Z (Chellano Z x Palestro v Begijnakker). Aboard the former ride of his father Ludo, Olivier was last to go and finished on the third spot in 42.04. “I did not think I was able to beat Eric, but after all we had a bit of a slip towards the last turn, so who knows what would have happened otherwise!” Olivier said.
Back in 2010, Eric Lamaze was sitting in the press conference of the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen after his victory aboard the legendary Hickstead. Today, his mare Fine Lady shows quite some similarities in speed and carefulness with the late stallion. “But Fine Lady is much easier to ride than Hickstead,” Eric smiled. “She is easy to handle, very quick and if you give her enough ground speed, she truly believes in herself. In a class like today, you just have to ride the first round like it is a Table A against the clock and she will give you all she has,” Eric Lamaze concluded.
Text © World of Showjumping by Peter van der Waaij // Picture © Tiffany Van Halle
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