The 2008 Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze opened the CSIO5* Spruce Meadows “Masters” tournament with a win in the $50,000 ATCO Structures & Logistics Cup on Thursday, September 11, in Calgary, AB.

When a freak snow storm forced the cancellation of Wednesday’s competition, organizers worked tirelessly to prepare the show grounds for Thursday. Competition went off without a hitch, with Lamaze, riding Fine Lady 5, an 11-year-old bay Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Drosselklang II), topping an international starting field of 35 entries. Owner Artisan Farms LLC purchased Fine Lady 5 in April of this year, and Lamaze and the mare enjoyed three victories during the Spruce Meadows Summer Series held in June and July.

With a win in the $50,000 ATCO Structures & Logistics Cup, Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 made it four victories so far this year at the famed Calgary venue. Held in a speed format that sees the fastest time win, Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 laid down a time of 55.44 seconds to take over the lead from Belgium’s Nicola Philippaerts, who had stopped the clock in 56.90 riding Cortez.
“The conditions yesterday looked a little doubtful for jumping today, but they did a fantastic job preparing the arena and today we saw top sport,” said Lamaze. “Fine Lady is a very good mare. She’s very careful, and she’s super quick without even thinking about being fast. When a horse is naturally fast, it makes your life a lot easier!”

On Saturday, Lamaze will ride as a member of the Canadian Team in the $300,000 BMO Nations’ Cup. Joining him are his 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games teammates Tiffany Foster of Vancouver, BC, and Ian Millar of Perth, ON, as well as 20-year-old Ben Asselin of Calgary, AB. Lamaze has selected Zigali P S as his mount for the team event, marking the horse’s second Nations’ Cup appearance following last week’s Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France.

“He’s fresh off the World Equestrian Games; he learned a lot there, and I think he’s ready to jump well,” said Lamaze of the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Kigali x STB-H Palfrenier).

The Spruce Meadows “Masters” tournament concludes on Sunday with the grand finale, the $1.5 million CP International, presented by Rolex.

“This is the Super Bowl of show jumping,” said Lamaze, a Rolex testimonee. “There is nothing like it anywhere in the world, with the Nations’ Cup on Saturday and the Grand Prix on Sunday. The crowd here gets to see two unbelievable events and we, as riders, really love it.

“The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping has brought some extra zip to the sport,” continued Lamaze of the series comprised of the grand prix events at Aachen, Germany, Calgary, Canada, and Geneva, Switzerland. “We are all excited for the weekend!”

Exactly three years ago, Lamaze and Hickstead enjoyed what would be their final victory together, claiming the 2011 edition of the $1.5 million CP International, presented by Rolex, at the Spruce Meadows “Masters” for the second time in their illustrious career.

Lamaze has already claimed two major grand prix victories in 2014. On May 18, he won the €200,000 Grand Prix of La Baule, France, riding Powerplay and, one week later, emerged victorious in the €200,000 Grand Prix of Rome with Zigali P S. Both horses are owned by Carlene and Andy Ziegler’s Artisan Farms, based in Vrasene, Belgium, and Wellington, Florida.