Canada’s Eric Lamaze is locked and loaded for the Rolex Grand Prix following a spectacular performance by Artisan Farm’s Fine Lady 5 in the Turkish Airlines Cup – one of three preliminary qualifiers for Sunday’s big event.
It was no small feat, as the course was massive for a qualifier, and the weather in Aachen turned menacing at various points in the class, with dark skies likely spoiling a few rounds, and a thunderstorm delay keeping things interesting for the horses in warm-up.
But Eric and the 14-year-old superstar kept their wits about them to make the jump-off and defend their title (they won this same class last year) with this powerful jump-off against 19 other competitors:
Eric and Fine Lady 5 riding to win the Turkish Airlines Prize of Europe in 42.97 seconds today at CHIO Aachen #TeamArtisan
Posted by Artisan Farms LLC on Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Fine Lady 5 edged runners-up Ludger Beerbaum and Chiara 22 by just a few hundredths of a second by cutting corners to the finest depths and fearlessly taking the six stride here:
Beaming from the glow of the perfect ride, Eric was clearly overwhelmed by taking home another title from Aachen in his long and illustrious career with the mare who has defined this chapter of Eric’s life.
“She jumped amazing! To win here in Aachen is very prestigious, especially for a Canadian, and it’s very special to win two years in a row. You don’t ever forget competing at Aachen with all of its history, and you certainly don’t ever forget winning.”
The first qualifying course set by Germany’s Frank Rothenburger was no cake-walk, which some riders said was too much, yet an impressive twenty horses went clean and into the jump-off. Eric might have thrown a bit of shade around in his post-win interview, saying it was just as it should be.
“The course was big, and included a pair of double liverpools that caused a lot of problems. When we first walked it, a lot of riders thought it was too big for the first day, but you have the best in the world competing here and ended up with twenty in the jump-off.”
Third place in the event went to Ireland’s wunderkind Bertram Allen aboard Molly Malone V. The highest-placed American pair was Lauren Hough and Ohlaha, who finished fifth and should be safely qualified for Sunday’s event. McLain Ward and Rothchild were 12th, and Kent Farrington is sitting on the bubble with a 20th place finish after going clean in the first round, but adding 11 faults in the jump-off. Beezie just missed cut-off aboard Breitling LS when they added a pesky time fault in round one.
There are still two more chances to qualify for the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday: The Nations Cup today, and the North Rhine-Westphalia Grand Prix on Friday afternoon. The best forty from the three events will proceed to Sunday’s final.