Eric Lamaze wins the Grand Prix of La Baule

Eric Lamaze wins the Grand Prix of La Baule

Canadian Eric Lamaze won the elite Grand Prix of La Baule on Sunday.

Lamaze, took the 66.000 euros prize-money aboard Powerplay with a clear run in 35.83 seconds, well ahead of runner-up Abdelkebir Ouaddar and Patrice Delaveau.

Lamaze, the 2008 Olympic champion, was emotional after winning the biggest event on the international show jumping calendar.

“This is the first five-star grand prix that I’ve won since Hickstead (Lamaze’s former champion horse, which died in 2011),” said Lamaze. “It is super exciting to win this grand prix. It’s a grand prix that I’ve won before. I know what it feels like to win in La Baule.”

Lamaze, who leapt off the podium to spray the audience with champagne, said he’d never pushed Powerplay as hard has he did this Sunday.

“Last year was a learning year with the horse,” said Lamaze. “I’ve really taken my time with him and been respectful of how careful he is. He’s not a super-fast horse, but sometimes when you get to know a horse you know when you can take risks.

“Today, it felt like it was time to be competitive. It felt like the time was right for me to ask him to do this.”

The 13 obstacles course designed by Frédéric Cottier has been difficult for several competitors on 3 main obstacles: the double in No. 9, the oxer on the pool in No. 11 and the No. 12 triple. In fact, only 9 couples have managed to qualify for the jump-off, on the fifty competing : Simon Delestre (FRA) / Qlassic Bois Margot, Kevin Staut (FRA) / Dreamer Hurtebise*HDC, Joe Clee (GBR) / Utamaro d'Ecaussines, Patrice Delaveau (FRA) / Carinjo*HDC, Jos Verlooy (BEL) / Domino, Pénélope Leprevost (FRA) / Dame Blanche von Arenberg,

Abdelkebir Ouaddar (MAR) / Quickly Kreisker of Eric Lamaze (CAN) / Powerplay, Paul Estermann (SUI) / Castlefield Eclipse.

Only 7 obstacles were left for the jump-off. There wasn't any big difficulty therefore everything was played against the clock, to the delight of the audience as enthusiastic as ever.

First to jump Simon Delestre and Qlassic Bois Margot have completed their clear round in 41 seconds. Kevin Staut and Dreamer Hurtebise HDC, also clear, did better in 38.79 seconds.

The jump-off continued with Joe Clee and Utamaro d Ecaussines. Clear round again, the couple was much slower in 41.73 seconds. Then Patrice Delaveau, the winner of the event in 2013 with Orient Express*HDC, entered the arena with Carinjo*HDC. The French sent down the clock at 37.60 seconds. A time that Jos Verlooy tried unsuccessfully to beat with Domino (38.67 seconds).

Followed Pénélope Leprevost and Dame Blanche van Arenberg. Accustomed to this kind of exercise, the French team rider has not done better than 37.99 seconds.

It's Abdelkebir Ouaddar who first beat Patrice Delaveau and Carinjo*HDC through a tighter curve with Quickly with Kreisker. A good bet which allowed him to take the first place with a time of 37.53 seconds.

Eric Lamaze wrote his name for the second time as winner of the Grand Prix Longines of La Baule. The first time was in 2011 with the late Hickstead. Abdelkebir Ouaddar (MAR) and Quickly de Kreisker were 2nd, Patrice Delaveau and Carinjo HDC are 3 rd .

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