Eric Lamaze and Hickstead Claim €350,000 Grand Prix of Aachen

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Aachen, Germany – Olympic Champions Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON, and Hickstead added yet another major grand prix victory to their ever-growing resume, winning the €350,000 Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen on Sunday, July 18, in Aachen, Germany.

Hot off their victory a week earlier in the $200,000 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, AB, Lamaze and Hickstead traveled to Europe to win one of the most prestigious grand prix events in the world.

Following two rounds of competition, four riders remained on a perfect score of zero to advance to the jump-off. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum of Germany and Shutterfly incurred eight faults in the jump-off before Sergio Alvarez Moya of Spain and Action-Breaker were clear in a time of 57.55 seconds.

Lamaze, currently ranked the number one rider in the world, took almost six full seconds off the leading time, crossing the finish line in 51.62 seconds. The final challenger, the number two ranked rider in the world Pius Schwizer of Switzerland riding Carlina, then came close, but his time of 51.86 seconds could not beat Lamaze and Hickstead.

“He is just an amazing, amazing horse!” said Lamaze of Hickstead, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood breeding stallion owned by Ashland Stables and Lamaze’s own Torrey Pines Stable. “He jumped the first day in Aachen and was second and then he came back and jumped triple clear today. He's a horse of a lifetime, and arguably the best horse in the world.”

On Friday, Lamaze and Hickstead placed second in the €55,000 RWE Prize of North-Rhine-Westphalia before returning to the hallowed grass ring on Sunday to lay claim to the €350,000 Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen. For Sunday’s victory, Lamaze earned €115,000 in prize money plus a Rolex timepiece.

“It's every rider's dream to compete in Aachen,” said Lamaze who, in 2006, placed third with Hickstead in the Grand Prix of Aachen. “I'm very happy to put this on my resume with Hickstead. It is a highlight of my career, along with my Olympic gold medal. It is great that it was possible to come here and that my horse is in such great form. This win means a lot to me.”

Unfortunately, during the first round of competition, Lamaze injured his foot.  “After ‘c’ of the triple, I landed in the stirrups and felt a crack and pain, but hopefully it's nothing,” said Lamaze.

The 42-year-old will be examined by doctors before confirming his upcoming competition schedule. Next on his agenda are CSI5* Chantilly, France, from July 23 to 27 and CSI5* San Patrignano, Italy, from July 30 to August 1. Lamaze hopes to represent the Canadian Show Jumping Team at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky, from September 25 to October 10.

Photo: Olympic Champions Eric Lamaze and Hickstead won the €350,000 Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen on Sunday, July 18, in Aachen, Germany. Photo Credit – Frank Papelard, R&B Presse