Lamaze credits Europe tour

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:18 AM ET

Eric Lamaze can list several reasons he's faring so well at Spruce Meadows this summer.

When you have what's considered the best horse in Canada in Hickstead and another great mount in Narcotique De Muze II, you're at an advantage.

But Lamaze, the product of Schomberg, Ont., believes another huge key is his spring tour in Europe, and believes other Canadians should do the same to bring their game -- and their horses -- to another level.

"I think every Canadian rider should take a moment of their summer and jump in Europe. It pays off in a huge way," said Lamaze. "The competition's great, it makes you a better rider, and when you come back here ... your horses are ready."

That wave carried Lamaze and Narcotique to top spot in the $35,000 Pengrowth Cup and Hickstead to second place in the $50,000 Direct Energy Cup last night at the North American.

"The problem is our mentality is to wait for the federation to fund us to go over there, and those days are over," Lamaze said of Canadian riders. "You've got to fund yourself, or the owners have to fund it, and you've got to get on the plane and go. After that, we'll have more results.

"Either be a professional, a local professional, or try to be an international rider. Unfortunately, other than Spruce Meadows, there's not a lot of places in Canada to become that."

Only Lauren Hough of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., prevented Lamaze from the double-double, edging him out by a quarter-second in the $50,000 Direct Energy Cup jump-off with Casadora.

Jill Henselwood of Oxford Mills, Ont., placed third with Special Ed.

Judy Torres of Dover Plains, N.Y., finished second in the Pengrowth Cup, edged out by Lamaze in the jump-off.

A trio of local riders rounded out the top five, with Susan Anderson (Telegraph) placing third, followed by Emily George (Ramila) and Jenn Serek (Shin Shin).


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