July 5, 2007
Lamaze flexes his winning muscles
By RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

It's the final tune-up for the Pan-American Games and Eric Lamaze and his No. 1 horse Hickstead are right on track.

The duo, likely Canada's best show jumping combination right now, were at it again last night at the Spruce Meadows North American, laying claim to the $30,000 Enerflex Cup on opening night.

"He's on form. We're just waiting (to go)," Lamaze said of the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion after they claimed the $10,000 first-place prize. "He's had a really good year. Everywhere I've taken him, he's jumped well. He really is one of the best horses in the world, I think, today.

"Hopefully, he'll travel well to Brazil and the team will have a really good week."

At Rio de Janeiro, Canada needs a podium finish -- fourth if the U.S. finishes in the top three -- to qualify for next year's Olympic Summer Games.

Certainly Lamaze of Schomberg, Ont., who recently surpassed the $1 million mark in his career at Spruce Meadows, and Hickstead give them a great shot. They were a dominating pair during the National tournament. They'll also vie for tonight's $50,000 Direct Energy Cup as well as the $200,000 Queen Elizabeth II Cup on Saturday.

Keean White of Cambridge, Ont., and Vienna Rouge, finished second. Lisa Silverman of New York placed third with Obelix R.

In last night's other International Ring event, Kyle King rode Spitfire to the AON Reed Stenhouse Cup.

King, from Mobile, Ala., was over the moon over the 10-year-old Selle Francais gelding's improvement at Spruce Meadows in its first year against the top competition.

Chris Pratt of Belfountain, Ont., the only Canadian to crack the top 10, was second with Royal Beach Farao.

Third was Norman Dello Joio with Malcolm.


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