Hough shifts into high gear

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:49 AM ET

Lauren Hough knew she had to find an extra gear and she found it last night against Eric Lamaze in a jump-off.

In the $35,000 Spectra Energy Cup, it was only Lamaze and Hough in the extra round and Lamaze, a Canadian from Schomberg, Ont, went clear in 40.49 seconds on his fine steed Hickstead, an 11-year-old Dutch warmblood stallion.

Hough of Wellington, Fla., was that much faster, finishing in 39.77 and going clear as well on her mount Casadora, an 11-year-old Dutch warmblood mare.

"It was a very difficult course and any time you've got Eric Lamaze in a jump-off, you know it's going to be fast," said Hough, who picked up a cheque for $11,500 with the win.

"I had the advantage of going after Eric, so that helped."

They were the only two horse/rider combinations without faults on what was a challenge course, especially the No. 7 jump, a green vertical, which claimed plenty of horses.

"It's really skinny and the green poles blend in with the grass, so it's hard to see," said Hough.

Finishing third was Margie Gayford of Sharon, Ont., on Stuntman.

The event was a qualifier for the Canadian Pan-Am Games selection process and after the class, Jill Henselwood is first with Black Ice, after finishing fourth last night, and second with Special Ed. Karen Cudmore's in third, with Darren Dlin in fourth, followed by Ian Millar in fifth.

Five riders will be selected.

Meanwhile, earlier in the evening, Millar of Perth, Ont., was simply superb.

The veteran was the only rider to go clear in the $25,000 Prairie Mines & Royalty Cup, a 1.5-metre class in the International Ring.

Millar, who has won more than $2.3 million at Spruce Meadows, rode a nine-year-old mount named Redefin, who easily handled the course.

Millar earned $7,500 for his finish, while another Canadian, Chris Pratt of Belfountain, Ont., took second.

Norman Dello Joio of Wellington, Fla., was third on Popeye.


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