According to the Canadian Press, Canadian Olympic gold medalist Eric Lamaze of Montreal, Quebec won the prestigious Grand Prix of La Baule in France on Sunday. The win is significant not only because the Grand Prix of La Baule is one of the elite equestrian events in the world, but it has come only two years prior to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on a new horse for Lamaze.
The horse Lamaze used in France is Powerplay, a ten year old Holsteiner gelding from Artisan Farms in Aurora, Ontario. Lamaze needed to make a change after Hickstead died prior to the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Lamaze and Hickstead won the gold medal in equestrian show jumping at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
On Sunday in France, Lamaze was one of nine riders who jumped clean in round one. Lamaze joined Abdelkabir Ouaddar of Morocco, Patrice Delaveau, Penelope Leprevost, Kevin Staut and Simon Delestre of France, Jos Verlooy of Belgium, Joe Clee of Great Britain and Paul Estermann of Switzerland in the jump off. Lamaze then posted the fastest time of 35.83 seconds, which was 1.7 seconds faster than Ouaddar who finished in second place.
The bronze medalist went to Delaveau with a time of 37.6 seconds. The win for Lamaze should give him immense confidence going forward in his equestrian career. There is no question Lamaze was heartbroken after the unexpected death of Hickstead from an aortic rupture in Verona, Italy in 2011 and Sunday's win is the biggest win in the last two years for him.
However Lamaze still has a choice to make regarding what horse he plans to use for the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France in August. According to www.horse-canada.com, Lamaze is deciding between Powerplay and Zigali P S. In other equestrian news, Montreal is bidding against Lexington, Kentucky for the 2018 World Equestrian Games. A host site will be determined in August.