Rome, Italy – Hot off his victory in the €200,000 Grand Prix of La Baule, France, on Sunday, Canadian Olympic Show Jumping Champion Eric Lamaze enjoyed another win on the opening day of CSIO5* Rome, Italy.
On Thursday, May 22, Lamaze opened the five-star event in Rome with a win in the €24,000 1.50m Premio 3 riding Zigali P S for owners Carlene and Andy Ziegler of Artisan Farms. The victory came four days after an emotional win in the €200,000 Grand Prix of La Baule with Powerplay, also owned by Artisan Farms.
A total of 64 horses contested the €24,000 1.50m Premio 3 with 26 qualifying for the jump-off. As the second rider back for the tie-breaker, Lamaze laid down a clear round in a time of 37.67 seconds. It was a long wait as 24 more horse-rider combinations attempted to better his time, but none were able to catch the top-ranked Canadian rider. Two Frenchmen came closest, with Simon Delestre clocking in at 38 seconds flat with Ryan des Hayettes and Kevin Staut placing third after posting a time of 38.62 with Oh d’Eole.
“I knew it was going to be quite fast with 26 in the jump-off, and Zigali is fast to begin with,” said Lamaze of Schomberg, ON. “Fences one and two were new fences for the jump-off; I was fast to number one and just kept going! It set me up for the round, and I was able to leave strides out in several lines. It was a good opening day in Rome!”
Artisan Farms purchased Zigali P S last November from Great Britain’s Dan Neilson. Lamaze first competed with the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Kigali x STB-H Palfrenier) at the 2014 Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL, impressively finishing the 12-week circuit as the Leading Money Winner in the Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series.
After being the second horse at spring competitions in Europe, Zigali P S will step into the spotlight as Lamaze’s mount for the Grand Prix of Rome on Sunday, May 25. Lamaze won the event in 2011 with Hickstead.
“This is the first show where he is actually going to be the lead horse,” said Lamaze of Zigali’s elevated position at CSIO5* Rome. “It’s nice that he has a chance to be put in the position of doing the grand prix this week. The last few shows, it was all Powerplay for the big classes. Everything leading up to this has set Zigali up to do this; Florida and these first few shows in Europe really gave me a chance to get to know him. Now it gets a little more serious for Zigali.”
At CSIO5* Rome, Lamaze is competing alongside fellow Canadian Tiffany Foster of Vancouver, BC. Foster also contested the €24,000 1.50m Premio 3 on opening day, posting a score of four faults riding Southwind VDL for Artisan Farms. Lamaze and Foster are both based full-time with Artisan Farms, which has bases in Vrasene, Belgium, and Wellington, Florida.