Calgary, Alberta – Olympic Champions Eric Lamaze and Hickstead made show jumping history yet again by winning the $200,000 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup for a record fourth time. The crowning event in the five-week Spruce Meadows summer tournaments was held July 9 in Calgary, Alberta.
Having previously won the event in 2007, 2008 and 2010, Lamaze and Hickstead were strong favourites coming into Saturday’s $200,000 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup. Run in a format that sees the top 12 riders return for the second round, both Rich Fellers of the United States riding Flexible and Lamaze aboard Hickstead jumped two clear rounds to force a jump-off.
Lamaze was first to go, and laid down another flawless trip in a time of 43.32 seconds. Fellers and the Irish-bred Flexible, renowned for their speed, were up on the clock with a time of 42.82 seconds, but the final fence came down, taking their hopes for victory with it.
“It was a big course, bigger than I would have thought,” said Lamaze of the challenging track set by German course designer Werner Deeg. “I went first in the jump-off and I don’t think I could go any faster if I got to do it again. Rich is incredibly fast with that horse, but he had the last rail.”
For the win, Lamaze earned $66,000 in prize money, bringing his career earnings at Spruce Meadows to $3,042,297 and placing him firmly at the top of the all-time money won list. With four victories to his credit in the $200,000 Queen Elizabeth II Cup in the past five years, Lamaze continues to make history at the Calgary show jumping venue.
“It is a competition that everyone wants to win, it is a five-star event and $200,000 in prize money,” noted Lamaze. “We are here at Spruce Meadows for five weeks and Hickstead jumped well all the time, but he today was great. It was going to be hard to have a rail down with the way he was jumping today.”
Lamaze, who is currently ranked the number one rider in the world, and Hickstead will now travel to Aachen, Germany, to defend their title in the €350,000 Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen on July 17.
“Last year the same thing happened – I won the Queen Elizabeth II Cup then arrived in Aachen, did one class, and then won the Grand Prix,” noted Lamaze, who broke a bone in his left foot during the first round of competition in the Aachen Grand Prix last year. “This year, I will have the exact same routine as I did last year. I have a routine that I follow with the horse. He feels great, and he is going to come into Aachen feeling good.”
Hickstead, a 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion owned by Ashland Stables and Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable, will depart Calgary and fly to Europe on Monday night.
Lamaze leaves Spruce Meadows with several wins to his credit, earned with Hickstead as well as Coriana van Klapscheut, a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare he owns in partnership with Artisan Farms. It was a winning weekend for Team Lamaze as his student, 16-year-old Caitlin Ziegler, won the $31,000 1.50m AON Cup riding Valencia on July 7. Earlier on Saturday, before his win in the $200,000 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup, yet another Lamaze-trained rider, Tiffany Foster of Schomberg, ON, claimed the $80,000 1.50m TD Cup riding Victor.
“While winning was incredible, I am just as proud to see two of my students win this week,” said Lamaze. “Both Cait and Tiffany gave us quite a thrill with their victories. They have both worked hard, rode well against some of the top riders in the world, and really earned it.”
Following Aachen, Lamaze will remain in Europe for the duration of the summer, returning to Canada for the Spruce Meadows “Masters” Tournament from September 7 to 11.
Photo: Eric Lamaze and Hickstead captured the $200,000 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup for a record fourth time at the Spruce Meadows “North American” Tournament on July 9 in Calgary, Alberta. Photo Credit – Spruce Meadows Media Services