Paris, France – Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze of Canada returned to the show jumping arena for the Rolex Top 10 Final, finishing second in the featured event of the Paris Gucci Masters held Friday, December 3, in Paris, France. The Rolex Top 10 Final sees the top 10 riders in the Rolex World Rider Rankings going head-to-head over two rounds.
Lamaze, who has held the number one position in the Rolex World Rankings since June of this year, produced two clear rounds riding Coriana van Klapscheut with a second round time of 48.25 seconds. Ireland’s Billy Twomey was the only other competitor to produce two clear rounds, stopping the clock in a marginally faster time of 48.03 seconds riding Tinka’s Serenade. Germany’s Ludger Beerbaum incurred four faults in the second round to place third riding Gotha FRH.
“This is very prestigious event and is the highlight of the show in Paris, next to Sunday’s Gucci Grand Prix,” said Lamaze of the Rolex Top 10 Final, which is held annually at various indoor show jumping venues. “To start in this class, your horse needs to have done some bigger 1.60m grand prix events, but Coriana has mostly only done 1.50m speed events. She has never done anything like the Rolex Top 10 Final before, but not only did she do it, she did it quite easily.
“Coriana rose to the occasion and jumped extremely well,” continued Lamaze of Coriana van Klapscheut, a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Artisan Farms in partnership with Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable. “She is little and she is a fighter, and she proved that she is much more than just a speed horse. She has stepped into bigger shoes, and is now my top horse.”
The CSI5* Paris Gucci Masters marked Lamaze’s first European appearance since losing his Olympic gold medal partner, Hickstead. On November 6, upon completion of their four-fault round in the World Cup Grand Prix in Verona, Italy, Hickstead collapsed and died of an acute aortic rupture causing heart failure. Having competed at Toronto’s Royal Agricultural Winter Fair the week following the tragedy, Paris is the first European show jumping tournament that Lamaze has contested.
“It was difficult,” said Lamaze of his return to the competition arena in Paris. “It was not easy, but we are here doing it and doing the best we can. I have had nothing but 100 percent support from the other riders.”
As Lamaze will not defend his Olympic championship title with Hickstead, there is much speculation as to whether he will find another Olympic-calibre horse before the deadline. All horses competing at the 2012 London Olympics must be owned by the country they will represent by December 31, 2011.
“We are looking, for sure, but we’ll see what happens,” said Lamaze, 43. “We are not going to rush into anything.”
Lamaze will continue to compete at the Paris Gucci Masters, riding Coriana van Klapscheut in Sunday’s Gucci Grand Prix. He will then contest CSI5*-W Geneva in Switzerland from December 8 to 11 before returning to North America for the winter season. Lamaze will compete throughout the Winter Equestrian Festival, a 12-week show jumping circuit in Wellington, Florida, that attracts the best show jumping competitors in the world.
Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final – Final results
Rider Country Horse Faults Time
1. Billy Twomey Ireland Tinka's Serenade 0:0 48.03
2. Eric Lamaze Canada Coriana Van Klapscheut 0:0 48.25
3. Ludger Beerbaum Germany Gotha FRH 0:4 50.22
4. Edwina Tops-Alexander Australia Vleut 0:7 66.19
5. Rolf-Goran Bengtsson Sweden Ninja La Silla 0:8 48.87
6. Pius Schwizer Switzerland Verdi III 4:4 57.14
7. Denis Lynch Ireland Abbervail Van Het Dingeshof 0:12 2.23
8. Simon Delestre France Napoli Du Ry 4:8 52.17
9. Beezie Madden United States Cortes C 12:0 57.51
10. Kevin Staut France Le Prestige St Lois de Hus 12:17 58.40
Photo: Eric Lamaze and Coriana van Klapscheut finished second in the Rolex Top 10 Final held Friday, December 2, at the Paris Gucci Masters in Paris, France. Photo Credit – Kit Houghton