Lamaze Masters CN course

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:49 AM ET

The great horses who have dominated at Spruce Meadows live on as legends.

Milton. Big Ben. Boomerang. Lianos. Dollar Girl.

The way Eric Lamaze sees it -- and who can argue after this summer -- his amazing mount, Hickstead, is rising to that echelon.

"It's a great horse," Lamaze said after riding Hickstead to victory in yesterday's CN International to conclude the Masters tournament. "What you saw today is a great horse."

How great? Lamaze and Hickstead was the only team to do the incredible double-double this weekend.

They went double-clear in the Nations' Cup event Saturday and did the same yesterday en route to claiming the first-place $325,000 prize.

"When I was younger, I used to see Milton and Big Ben. I've seen horses like that jump double-clear in the Nations' Cup and win this class," Lamaze said. "I think Hickstead's part of some of the great horses of the world.

"He jumped well all year, but (Saturday) he felt really, really good in the Nations' Cup. But when you've had two clear rounds in the Nations' Cup in a tournament like this, it's hard to believe it can happen the next day over these type of courses."

It can. It did. And the Spruce Meadows crowd of 60,486 loved every minute of it.

Lamaze is the first Canadian to claim the event since Ian Millar won with Big Ben in 1991.

It's staggering when compiling all Lamaze accomplished this summer. All totalled, the Schomberg, Ont., rider reeled in more than $600,000 in winnings at Spruce Meadows. He and Hickstead won the two biggest classes of the year, the CN International and the $200,000 Queen Elizabeth II Cup.

He also nabbed bronze at the Pan-American Games in the individual event and helped Canada win silver in the team competition. Those efforts earned the nation a berth in the 2008 Olympic Summer Games.

Lamaze's amazing year pushed his career Spruce Meadows winnings to more than $1.5 million and puts him fourth all-time.

It's no fluke. It's equal parts a great stable, especially Hickstead -- the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion -- and a rider who's focused himself more than ever.

"I've spent the last two or three years really preparing myself in Europe in the spring to come here in June," Lamaze said. "When I arrive at Spruce Meadows, my horses are very, very competitive. They've jumped some big classes.

"And I come here to win. I don't come here to play. I don't come here to school my horses. I come here to win."

Hubert Bourdy of France, riding Toulon, had a time fault in the second round and finished second for $200,000.

MOLSON FOR McLAIN

McLain Ward of the U.S. rode Quo Vadis to victory in the $75,000 Molson Cup in the morning. He won $26,000. Germany's Christian Ahlmann was second and won $15,000. Carla Diewert of Calgary was the top Canadian, placing fifth aboard Revelation and winning $5,000.


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