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Last-minute Lamaze lands the spoils

May 8, 2010

by Lulu Kyriacou

Eric Lamaze and Hickstead.

Simon Delestre and Orphee de L'illon.

The Global Champions Tour of Spain began with 50 riders from 18 nations lining up to try to win a share of the €300,000 total prize money up for grabs.

Frank Rothenburg built courses that tested the best without being too demanding so everyone would get a good warm up before the Grand Prix.

But an Olympic champion clearly needs less time to acclimatise than others. Arriving in Valencia only a couple of hours before his first class, Eric Lamaze came second in that and then galloped away with the second worth €6000 to the winner.

Sixteen of the starters had jumped clean to get through to the jump off although a couple elected not to go in that round and save their horses for there next say, there were still 13 others for the Canadian to beat.

But by the time Lamaze entered the ring, Richard Spooner had already been eliminated when the notoriously difficult Cristallo point blank refused to jump the last fence and no one else had broken the 50 second barrier. So stopping the watch at 46.31 left the others all chasing the time.

Next to go Timothee Anciaume on his giant European Championship mount Lamm de Fetan actually ended up next best as the French horse's ground devouring stride got the job done in 46.83. Alvaro de Miranda was third on AD Untouchable and Cian O'Connor fourth on K Club Lady, a horse he found in Spain only months ago and has already been placed on at Lummen and Hagen recently.

Earlier Simon Delestre had a dream start to his GCT career when winning the opening speed class. Third to go in the ring he set a time of 51.21 that was never beaten although there were several good efforts to do so. In the end, riders from the other side of the Atlantic fared second best.

Eric Lamaze taking second in 52.82 with his consistent winner Take Off and Richard Spooner making third spot on Pako, who went through the finish in 53.02.

Richard had worked hard to earn this prize, though. During the previous day's warm up, Pako had taken violent exception to the screen at the edge of the arena. Richard had spent over a hour getting the horse used to it. "He is always a little bit like that with those sort of things but I am glad he got over it. As for this place, the arena reminds me of Monaco, which has been lucky for me, so I am hoping I will do OK here as well!"

An impressive debutant was Cindy Van der Straten who trains with Jos Lansink and finished sixth.

"For me, this was an amazing opportunity, so I am very happy. And I have never seen a show ground as beautiful as this one, so everything is special," she said.



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