Eric Lamaze & Fine Lady 5 jumping to the win. Ph. ©Stefano Grasso/LGCT
Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 of Canada proved the pair to beat in the €93,465 Massimo Dutti Trophy CS15* 1.50/1.55m class at the Longines Global Champions Tour Mexico Cit. after their lightening quick jump off round left the rest of the star-studded field trailing in their wake.
The Rio individual bronze medallists, who were third to go in the seven-strong jump off on Thursday, April 6, 2017, stopped the clock on a speedy 38 seconds, laying down a tough gauntlet for the remaining riders. Great Britain’s Scott Brash and Hello M’Lady were next into the arena and they came the closest, producing a clear round in 38.24 to occupy 2nd place.
Yuri Mansur Guerios of Brazil and Quartz de la Lande couldn’t match the speedy pace of their rivals and opted to record a sensible and solid jump off round which left them in third place, just ahead of Germany’s Christian Kukuk and Limonchello NT.
Bertram Allen of Ireland, a winner earlier in the day, had to settle for seventh aboard the exuberant Hector van d’Abdijhoeve after the 10-year-old grey stallion stood off at fence two in the jumpoff and knocked it down.
Fifty-four riders started the class which took place in the picturesque grass arena at Campo Marte, eight riders jumped clear around what was a large and twisty course with technical distances but Simon Delestre of France and Hermes Ryan withdrew ahead of the jump off. The class also served as the first competition of the Global Champions League; all League riders jumped before individual, non League riders.
With two League riders per team competing over the Uliano Vezzani-designed course, team ranking was determined by combining the team’s scores.
Valkenswaard United stormed to pole position ahead of Saturday’s GCL final. Kick-starting the defence of their title off to the best possible start, Alberto Zorzi and Bertram Allen produced masterful clear rounds around a tough track to leave their team in prime position, securing the only team clear of the class.
Three teams are tied on eight faults with the Hamburg Pirates just ahead on time. Their first rider, Harrie Smolders and Emerald N.O.P, racked up eight faults before Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 displayed nerves of steel to produce a clear round. It was a similar story for Chantilly Pegasus after their opening rider Martin Fuchs and Chaplin knocked down two fences before Nicola Philippaerts and Chilli Willi kept them in the hunt with a faultless performance. Four faults apiece for Leopold van Asten and VDL Groep Miss Untouchable and Maikel van der Vleuten with VDL Groep Arera C leave Madrid in Motion on the same mark but down in fifth place.
The course caused several problems, most notably at the combination fence at 8 and at the final fence, planks dressed with Western saddles on the wings. Notable names such as Steve Guerdat of Switzerland and Corbinian and Jos Verlooy of Belgium and Caracas fell foul at the latter while France’s Kevin Staut and Ayade de Septon et HDC had a round they would probably rather forget as they notched up 13 penalties, which included accruing four penalties at the last fence.
But it was Canada’s Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 who stole the show, with the crowd cheering as they galloped to a stunning win.
Friday will see another CSI5* class, before Saturday’s GCL Final and Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Mexico City.
See full results at this link.