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Eric Lamaze claims GP victory at Blainville

July 11, 2006

Eric Lamaze and Hickstead claimed the $70,000 Grand Prix Jumping du Quebec World Cup Qualifier at the CSI-W Blainville Jumping International.
Photo: © 2006 Cealy Tetley
For the first time in his career, Montreal-born Eric Lamaze claimed the $70,000 Grand Prix Jumping du Quebec World Cup Qualifier at the CSI-W Blainville Jumping International on Sunday.

A qualifier for the 2007 World Cup Final in Las Vegas, USA, the $70,000 Grand Prix Jumping du Quebec was the featured event at the 18th Blainville Jumping International held July 5-9 in Blainville, Quebec, just north of Montreal. A total of 35 horses and riders attempted the track set by course designer Conrad Homfeld, with eight passing the initial test.

The jump-off field read like a 'who's who' of show jumping sport with Chris Pratt, Eric Lamaze, Chris Kappler, Joe Fargis, Erynn Ballard, Ian Millar and John Pearce, with two mounts, all advancing to the second-round tie breaker.

Despite being only the second rider back for the jump-off, Lamaze set a blistering fast pace over the shortened jump-off course. Riding Hickstead, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Lamaze galloped over the course, cheered on by 8,000 spectators, to stop the clock at 41.42 seconds. While the other competitors gave it their best effort, none were able to duplicate his performance.

"Hickstead is a great horse and a very good competitor," said Lamaze following his victory, which netted him a pay cheque of $21,000. "He's feisty, he knows why he is out there, and he knows that knocking down a rail is not good!"

Olympic Gold Medallist Joe Fargis of the United States came the closest to catching Lamaze, but still finished more than a full second off the winning pace. He stopped the timers at 42.71 seconds with his veteran partner, Edgar 12. Erynn Ballard, 25, was impressive in the jump-off, clocking in at 43.80 seconds to take third place with Robin van Roosendael, her 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding.

As final challenger in the jump-off, eight-time Olympian Ian Millar had the crowd cheering, but the scoreboard told the final story, flashing a time of 43.97 seconds for fourth place with Redefin, an eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding.

Pratt of Belfountain, ON, rolled the dice first in the jump-off, putting in a clear round in a time of 46.06 seconds riding Rivendell. Lamaze, Millar and Pratt will be teammates at the upcoming World Championships in August in Aachen, Germany.

Canadian Olympian John Pearce of Stouffville, ON, had caught Lamaze's time with 40.81, but a rail down at the final fence cost him the victory with Archie Bunker, the winner of Friday's $20,000 Open Welcome. Pearce also had four faults to take seventh place with Urioso. American Olympic Gold Medallist Chris Kappler rounded out the jump-off field, incurring four faults with VDL Oranta.

$70,000 Grand Prix Jumping du Quebec World Cup Qualifier - Final Results
Rider Hometown Horse Faults Time
1. Eric Lamaze Schomberg, ON Hickstead 0:0 41.42
2. Joe Fargis United States Edgar 12 0:0 42.71
3. Erynn Ballard Hillsburgh, ON Robin van Roosendael 0:0 43.80
4. Ian Millar Perth, ON Redefin 0:0 43.97
5. Chris Pratt Belfountain, ON Rivendell 0:0 46.06
6. John Pearce Stouffville, ON Archie Bunker 0:4 40.81
7. John Pearce Stouffville, ON Urioso 0:8 43.43
8. Chris Kappler United States VDL Oranta 0:4 48.91



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