Eric Lamaze of CAN riding Coco Bongo. (Photo © Spruce Meadows Media Service).
Another day, another win for Eric Lamaze (CAN) in the ‘Canada One’ Tournament at Spruce Meadows. Lamaze guided Coco Bongo to his second win of the week with a victory in Saturday’s $34,000 CIBC Cup 1.50m. In a three-horse jump-off, the pair topped Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) and Challenge vd Begijnakker, and Shane Sweetnam (IRL) aboard Easy Contact Humlan. Also competing on Saturday, Molly Ashe (USA) and Balous Day Date won the $34,000 Friends of the Meadows 1.45m.
The day’s feature competition saw 29 entries come forward to contest the $34,000 CIBC Cup, with three clear rounds to advance to the jump-off. Lamaze and Artisan Farms LLC’s Coco Bongo were first to go over the short course and set the challenge with a clear round in 43.30 seconds. Sweetnam and Sweet Oak Farm’s Easy Contact Humlan jumped next, with one rail down in 46.96 seconds to eventually finish third. Philippaerts followed with four faults in 46.00 seconds to take the second place prize aboard Bart Keisse’s Challenge vd Begijnakker.
Peter Grant (CAN) set the tracks for Saturday’s competition in the Meadows on the Green and earned high praise from Lamaze for his efforts this week.
“I think Peter is building some very nice courses,” Lamaze noted. “That 1.50m last night was very difficult, but very fair. This one was also difficult with only three clears. The time was short, but doable, and I think his jump-off tracks are good. These days, the course designer has a lot to do with the outcome of our sport and the outcome of the week. It is important to have very good, knowledgeable course designers that understand our sport and the modern horse of today, and Peter is doing a great job this week.”
Going first in the jump-off, Lamaze had the task of setting an unbeatable pace and putting the pressure on the other riders. He did just that with Coco Bongo, the ten-year-old Rheinlander stallion (Caretino x Calido) that also won Thursday’s $34,000 Cargill Cup 1.50m.
“It was three horses, but you cannot assume that just because it is three, you only have to go a certain speed,” the rider explained. “I think going first in a three-horse jump-off, I had to go as fast as I thought I could go with him. The other two riders were very well capable of going fast. It does not really change whether you have three or twelve, if you go first, you have to go for it and that is what I did.”
Lamaze has used the first three weeks of the Summer Series at Spruce Meadows to develop Coco Bongo and work on the horse’s speed in the jump-offs.
“These weeks are nice because you do learn a lot about your horse competing in the different arenas and it gives them some good mileage,” Lamaze acknowledged. “One thing I have learned about Spruce Meadows is that even if it is a 4* or it is in the Meadows in the Green or it is in the International Ring, there is no competition that is easy. It is always good sport and it is always difficult to win here.”
“Really until the jump-off in the grand prix two weeks ago, I had never asked Coco Bongo to go fast,” Lamaze continued. “I really chose these 1.50m competitions to teach him to go fast and to learn more about him going fast over a height that is not 1.60m. I was in a couple jump-offs at 1.60m and I did not risk very much. I just took my fifth or sixth place and went home, so this is great for me to learn about him and his reaction at different speeds. It is part of the learning process of any horse.”
With the Pan American Games on the horizon in July, Lamaze has also planned the schedule for his horses accordingly.
“We have strategy for the Pan American Games in the back of our minds,” he explained. “We have a big event coming up, so this week it would be tempting to do the grand prix for $126,000 tomorrow, but for his schedule and what I am doing with him right now, these two 1.50m were well fitted for him.”
Final Results: $34,000 CIBC Cup 1.50m
1. $8,500 COCO BONGO Rheinlander / S / 10 PRH Caretino x Calido ERIC LAMAZE (CAN) SCHOMBERG, ON Artisan Farms, LLC: 0/0/43.30
2. $6,800 CHALLENGE VD BEGIJNAKKER Zangersheide / G / 13 Chellano Z x Palestro VD Begijnakker NICOLA PHILIPPAERTS (BEL) GRUITRODE Bart Keisse: 0/4/46.00
3. $5,100 EASY CONTACT HUMLAN Swedish Warmblood / G / 12 Unknown x Unknown SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL) WELLINGTON, FL Sweet Oak Farm: 0/4/46.96
4. $3,400 NELSON 212 Holstein / G / 9 Nekton x Cornado JOSE ALBERTO MARTINEZ (MEX) GUADALAJARA, JALISCO Karl-Heinz Markussen: 1/79.90
5. $2,380 IZZY MIAKI Swedish Warmblood / G / 11 Casa Grande x Cardento GUSTAVO RAMOS (MEX) MEXICO Gustavo Ramos: 1/81.13
6. $1,870 ORBETELLO Oldenburg / S / 12 Orlando x Landgraf I BRIANNE GOUTAL (USA) NEW YORK, NY Hampton Farms LLC: 4/74.81
7. $1,360 VANILLA Danish Warmblood / M / 13 Nabab de Reve x Clinton BEEZIE MADDEN (USA) CAZENOVIA, NY Abigail Wexner: 4/75.23
8. $1,020 GELEDIMAR Zangersheide / M / 12 Grosso Z x Lord Z HANNAH HEIDEGGER (USA) CHATWORTH VILLAGE, CA Monarch International: 4/76.25
9. $1,020 SRI ALADDIN Dutch Warmblood / G / 10 Quasimodo z x Burggraaf MEAGAN NUSZ (USA) HOUSTON, TX Amalya Investments: 4/76.42
10. $850 FLEUR IV Belgian Warmblood / M / 10 Chatman x Darco REBECCA MCGOLDRICK (CAN) WEST TISBURY, MA Rebecca McGoldrick: 4/78.11
11. $850 ZILVERSPRINGS Dutch Warmblood / G / 11 Unknown x Unknown ELIZABETH GINGRAS (CAN) EDMONTON, AB B Gingras Equestrian Ltd: 4/78.75
12. $850 CABRIO VAN DE HEFFINCK Warmblood / S / 13 Cassini I x Calato
OLIVIER PHILIPPAERTS (BEL) MEEUWEN-GRUITRODE Stoeterij Dorperheide/H. Van de Heffinck: 4/78.85
Source: Spruce Meadows Media Service