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Eric Lamaze takes on Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ tournament

Saturday, 11 September 2021
CSIO5* Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ 2021

Photo © Rolex / Ashley Neuhof Eric Lamaze riding Dieu Merci van T&L on opening day of the 2021 CSIO5* Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ tournament in Calgary, AB. Photo © Rolex / Ashley Neuhof.

 

Press release from Starting Gate Communications

 


 

It has been 10 years since Eric Lamaze and the legendary Hickstead claimed their last major victory together at the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ tournament in Calgary, AB. A decade later, Lamaze will return to the international ring at Spruce Meadows with another feisty stallion, Dieu Merci van T&L, to take on the $2.5 million CP International, presented by Rolex, on Sunday, September 12, 2021.

With competition paused due to the COVID pandemic, it has been two years since Lamaze last stepped foot on the Calgary venue. He’s returned with three horses in tow including his 2016 Olympic bronze medal partner Fine Lady 5; the stallion, Dieu Merci, that he plans to ride in Sunday’s feature event; and a new mount, Kino, recently acquired from Japan’s Karen Polle.

As the all-time leading money winner at Spruce Meadows with $6,689,287 in career earnings coming into the ‘Masters’ tournament running September 9 to 12, 2021, Lamaze plans to widen the gap this weekend. With top placings with all three horses on Thursday’s opening day, he’s already off to a strong start.

“One thing that Spruce Meadows has never done is that they have never lowered the standard,” said Lamaze, 53, when asked why Spruce Meadows is his favourite venue to compete at. “You have to expect big things, great things, when you come to Spruce Meadows. Nothing is ever easy. Even with less Europeans here this year, don’t expect the grand prix on Sunday to be any easier.”

Lamaze also hopes to give show jumping fans, allowed on-site in limited capacity, a preview to the future when he tacks up Dieu Merci, whose name translates from French to ‘thank god,’ on Sunday.

“He’s a fantastic horse that I’ve partnered with recently; he has all the quality and scope in the world,” said Lamaze of the 12-year-old Belgian Sport Horse stallion (Toulon x Corrado I) that he owns in partnership with the Rein Family LLC. “He’s a winner. He’s very careful, he’s genuine, he has all the power you need, and he has all the character you need. He can be feisty, being a stallion, but I like that. Hickstead was like that. He’s an amazing animal.

“You’ll see the making of a superstar on Sunday,” he promised.

Photo © Rolex / Ashley Neuhof The all-time leading money winner at Spruce Meadows, Rolex testimonee Eric Lamaze with Fine Lady 5. Photo © Rolex / Ashley Neuhof.

Meanwhile, Lamaze believes the ‘Masters’ tournament will mark the last time that his other Olympic medal partner, Fine Lady 5, competes at Spruce Meadows. He’ll be riding the 18-year-old Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Drosselklang II) owned by Artisan Farms LLC and his Torrey Pines Stable as a member of the Canadian team in the $600,000 BMO Nations’ Cup on Saturday afternoon.

“Fine Lady is a winner, and she knows her job well,” he said, revealing that he hopes to breed Fine Lady 5 to Dieu Merci via embryo transfer in the near future. “She is healthy, she’s sound, but she is also 18 and this is her last appearance at Spruce Meadows. I would like to finish her career in the Rolex Grand Prix at Geneva in December. I’m the only Canadian to have won the Rolex Top 10 Final and I did it in Geneva with that little mare.”

In celebrating the 10-year anniversary of his last win in the CP International at Spruce Meadows, Lamaze is also celebrating 10 years as part of the Rolex family of testimonees.

“When you use the term ‘family’ it is very fitting,” said Lamaze. “They’ve been the most wonderful sponsor anyone can expect to have. They are family, they’re not just your sponsor. I’m very close with everyone and love to see them at every event. They are so supportive towards us. We’re the luckiest people in the world.”

No matter the outcome of this weekend’s events at Spruce Meadows, Lamaze is already a winner.

 



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