Articles: Press Release
The Canadian Flag Flies Again as Eric Lamaze and Lorrain Z Beat Tough
Field to Win $25,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round II Grand Prix
Ian Millar and Redefin Come in Close Second
Photo Credit: Lorrain Z and Eric Lamaze, winners of the $25,000 WEF
Challenge Cup Round II Grand Prix at the Winter Equestrian Festival.
Photo (c) 2007 Peter Llewellyn/PMG Pictures.
Jennifer Wood of
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
at (561) 753-3389 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wellington, FL - February 1, 2007 - In today's $25,000 WEF Challenge Cup
Grand Prix at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club, Eric Lamaze of
Schomburg, Ontario, Canada, had three chances to win. On Lorrain Z,
owned by Ashland Stables, he came away with the top prize over fellow
Canadian Ian Millar and Redefin and Irishman Conor Swail on Nepomuk.
The grand prix saw 71 entries attempt a masterful course set by Michel
Vaillancourt of Canada. Eric Lamaze affirmed, "Michel Vaillancourt is
one of the great builders. It's a great education for the young horses,
but enough for the older, experienced ones. It was a great jump-off. You
needed a lot of riding ability out there today." The course was set at
1.45m, had 14 number jumps and seventeen jumping obstacles, including an
open water. Ten horses were clear, one horse was clear with a time fault
and six horses either retired or were eliminated.
The first to return for the jump-off was Lamaze on one of his three
qualified horses. Lamaze set a quick, clear pace on Why Not for the rest
of the field to follow in 42.54 seconds. Following him was Lisa Jacquin
on Obourg, who carried a good pace but were just off Lamaze's time in
Olympic gold medalist Rodrigo Pessoa entered the ring next on Double H
Farm's Oasis. He pushed Oasis through the turns, and when it came time
to jump the triple bar into the one stride of the final line, Oasis
kicked out mightily over the top of it. Luckily, he stayed clear and
took the lead with a time of 41.01 seconds.
Laura Kraut and the 16 year old Anthem, who looked younger than ever,
were next to attempt the course. Kraut was the first rider to go inside
the sprinkler to approach the final line in order to save time, but it
was not quite enough when she finished in 41.03 seconds, just a hair off
of Rodrigo's pace.
Debbie Stephens and Centennial Farm's All Star were next in. All Star
was lofty over the jumps, but a rail at the triple bar (13a) cost them
the lead as well. Their final score was four faults in 43.46 seconds.
The crowd waited for a short while as Lamaze warmed up his next horse,
Hickstead. Lamaze and his World Equestrian Games mount ate up the ground
with a big stride, but they were not quite fast enough. They stopped the
timers with a clear round in 41.34 seconds. Lamaze explained afterwards
that his plan was not to push Hickstead. "Hickstead felt great. It's his
second class of the year, but his first big one. He felt fresh in the
first round, but came back very well to the jump-off. I was fast with
him, but it's his first class, so I was a bit more cautious than I would
normally be with him," he said. "I just tried to bring him up for the
Nations' Cup and the bigger grand prix at the end."
The third Canadian in the jump-off took to the ring next. Mario
Deslauriers and Available Levantos were on a good rate, but an added
stride before fence 11 caused four faults. They finished in 42.45
The lead would change hands next with Lamaze's third ride of the day,
Lorrain Z. The talented mare was quick in the air and across the ground,
and they tripped the timers in 39.95 seconds.
Conor Swail and Nepomuk galloped through the jump-off, and the big horse
made the best inside turn of the day to the final line, but they could
not quite catch Lamaze. They posted a clear round in 40.49 seconds.
The last in the jump-off was a great threat to Lamaze's lead. Ian Millar
and Redefin, owned by Susan Grange and Lothlorien, were coming off a
fantastic first week where they won both the Thursday and the Sunday
grand prix. Millar pushed Redefin again, and Redefin rose to the
occasion by giving another great performance. It was just not quite
enough, as the scoreboard flashed 40.08 seconds for second place.
Lamaze knew his chances were greatly improved by having three tries in
the jump-off. "It's always helpful, for sure, to have three in the
jump-off," he said with a smile. "Chance is on your side for sure. You
could risk a few, but by the end it was clear that you had to take all
the chances that you could."
Lorrain Z is an 11 year old mare that competes with her owner, Ashley
Fleishhacker. "She's a horse that my student, Ashley Fleishhacker, has
now taken over. I just do the odd classes to keep her going a little
bit. It's still a great horse to have in a string," Lamaze noted.
Despite his three rides, he knew he could not rest easy knowing that Ian
Millar was the last in the ring. "Ian's pretty fast, and his horse has
been on a roll. Whenever you've got this man behind you, you never
consider anything to be in your pocket," he conveyed.
Millar continued to be pleased with Redefin, his "second horse." He
expressed, "I was a little concerned about his level of sophistication;
this was a beautifully crafted course by Canadian Michel Vaillancourt. A
horse had to be trained just right to do it. Redefin's just starting to
learn that aspect. Yes, it's great to be second, but I'm even more
pleased with the way the horse responded and has learned. If this keeps
up, it's a wonderful thing. It's a great thing for my other horse, In
Style, to be backed up like this. If he's got a back-up like this, then
he doesn't have to carry the whole load the whole time. He'll last much
longer and stay much fresher."
Millar went for the winning time, but knew it would be a matter of split
seconds for victory. "It's a game of inches, and I couldn't really tell
you quite where I lost it. Obviously, it was a little here, a little
there. It wasn't one major spot; it wasn't, 'Had I done this, I would
have been the winner,'" he explained. "What always impresses me in this
sport - here we are, going all over the field with such different
animals, and time after time, the times come out so darn close together.
It's really quite extraordinary, and what the riders can do with those
times is really quite an amazing thing."
Conor Swail has brought along 12 year old Nepomuk recently and moved him
up the grand prix level. "He's only jumped a few bigger classes, so I'm
absolutely thrilled with him," Swail mentioned.
About his jump-off, Swail explained, "I think, for me, I lost it from
one to two. After that, everything went very smoothly. Like Ian says,
once you lost it in this particular course, you couldn't get it back.
For me, I just lost a little one to two and maybe needed to have one
stride less there. Everything else was very smooth."
Nepomuk is another second horse that has risen to the challenge for his
rider. "I've jumped a few grand prix on him, maybe three stars, but not
that many. Normally, I use him as my second horse also. I have a very
good young horse who's just turned nine this year; I didn't bring him.
He would be my number one horse, and this guy is a very, very good
number two horse," Swail asserted. "I'm delighted that I'm putting a
nice string together. He's stepping up to the plate, I must say."
Lamaze pointed out, "This tour here is as competitive as it gets. If
you're fortunate enough to make it to the jump-off, you know you're not
going to win it with a rail, maybe a double clear. Every class is
The competitive Winter Equestrian Festival will continue tomorrow with
jumper action in seven rings, with the main event, the Acorn Hill 1.40
Speed Challenge, in the Internationale Arena.
Results of Class $25,000 WEF CHALLENGE CUP - Nutrena/Western Hay
Wellington Classic - February 1, 2007
T/A: 84.00 T/A: 50.00
1 1234 LORRAIN Z ERIC LAMAZE 0.00 82.84 0.00 39.95 $7500
2 1654 REDEFIN IAN MILLAR 0.00 80.81 0.00 40.08 $5500
3 2991 NEPOMUK CONOR SWAIL 0.00 80.46 0.00 40.49 $3250
4 3145 OASIS RODRIGO PESSOA 0.00 80.73 0.00 41.01 $2000
DOUBLE H FARM
5 3531 ANTHEM LAURA KRAUT 0.00 80.53 0.00 41.03 $1500
6 1221 HICKSTEAD ERIC LAMAZE 0.00 81.08 0.00 41.34 $1250
TORREY PINES STBLE
7 1243 WHY NOT ERIC LAMAZE 0.00 82.36 0.00 42.54 $1000
DON EDDIE FARM
8 556 OBOURG LISA JACQUIN 0.00 83.03 0.00 43.19 $750
9 1516 AVAILABLE LEVANTOS MARIO DESLAURIERS 0.00 76.43 4.00 42.45 $750
10 630 ALL STAR DEBBIE STEPHENS 0.00 82.34 4.00 43.46 $500
11 1226 TEMPETE V/H LINDEHOF ASHLEY FLEISCHHACKER 1.00 84.94 $500
12 1719 YOUP LESLIE HOWARD 4.00 77.26 $500
13 3519 LOVE Z NICK SKELTON 4.00 77.36
14 594 COCU MOLLY ASHE 4.00 78.15
JANE F. CLARK
15 1652 NOBLE 1 JONATHON MILLAR 4.00 78.92