Doha, Qatar – March 7, 2021 – Canadian Olympic champion Eric Lamaze (CAN) closed out two weeks of competition in Doha, Qatar, with a third-place finish in the €375,000 Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Doha CSI 5* on Saturday, March 6. The event was part of the Global Champions Tour, which opened its 2021 season in Doha.
Riding Dieu Merci van T&L, Lamaze was one of seven riders to qualify for the jump-off in the state-of-the-art Al Shaqab Equestrian Center stadium. Niels Bruynseels (BEL) had the winning time of 39.93 seconds riding Delux van T&L while Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) was second in a time of 40.20 seconds with Nuance Bleue VDM Z. Lamaze was close behind with a time of 40.35 seconds to join the top three on the podium.
Lamaze had been competing at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, Florida, USA, prior to flying two of his top horses, Dieu Merci van T&L and his 2016 Rio Olympic bronze medal partner, Fine Lady 5, to Doha for two back-to-back weeks of five-star competition. While Fine Lady 5, owned by Artisan Farms LLC, has been a mainstay in Eric’s competition string for the past eight seasons, Dieu Merci van T&L joined the line-up last summer when Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable Inc. purchased the horse in partnership with Mark Rein and his wife, Tara Dow-Rein.
“I chose to go to Doha to give Dieu Merci some experience in a different venue,” explained Lamaze of the 12-year-old bay Belgian Sport Horse stallion (Toulon x Corrado I). “It’s a horse that has some experience at the two and three-star level, mostly gained at the same competitions in Europe. My strategy in coming to Doha was to bring him into a new venue with a championship feeling to it.
“He proved he is more than capable of competing with the best in the world,” continued Lamaze, 52, who is a gold, silver, and bronze Olympic medalist. “I love the horse. He’s careful and he’s scopey. If Tokyo goes ahead and I’m chosen as the Canadian representative, I will definitely go with this horse.”
The opening event of the Global Champions Tour also marked the first Global Champions League team event of the season. This year, Lamaze is riding as part of the Cascais Charms alongside Carlos and René Lopez, both of Colombia; Ahmad Hamcho of Syria; Under 25 rider Jodie Hall-McAteer of Great Britain; and team owner Sadri Fegaier of France.
“We were one rail away from being on the podium this week,” said Lamaze of his Cascais Charms debut. “It was a great opportunity to be on the team with Carlos, Rene, and team owner Sadri Fegaier. Given the COVID situation, this is still a bit of an unknown year for competition but I feel like the Global Champions Tour team will do everything it can to make sure the events happen. Competing for the Cascais Charms will be my main focus this year along with preparing for Tokyo if I am chosen to go.”
With competition concluded in Doha, Lamaze, as well as Dieu Merci and Fine Lady 5, will return to his European base in Écaussinnes, Belgium. After spending a week checking on operations and working with the younger horses in his training and sales program, Lamaze will return to Wellington, Florida, USA. He plans to compete during weeks 10 and 11 of the Winter Equestrian Festival with the horses that are still in Florida, including Chacco Kid. He is especially looking forward to contesting the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI5*, scheduled for Saturday, March 27, before returning to Europe.
Lamaze has steadily been building a large sales and training program and recently began establishing a breeding program with three top stallions, including Dieu Merci van T&L. With bases in Europe and the U.S., Torrey Pines Stable is recognized as an international leader in horse sport sales. For more information, visit www.torreypinesstables.com.
Final Results: €375,000 Longines Global Champions Tour of Doha 1.60m
1) Niels Bruynseels (BEL) & Delux van T & L – 0 / 0 – 39.93
2) Lorenzo De Luca (ITA) & Nuance Bleue VDM Z – 0 / 0 – 40.20
3) Eric Lamaze (CAN) & Dieu Merci van T & L– 0 / 0 – 40.35
Source: Press release from Starting Gate Communications for Eric Lamaze / Torrey Pines Stable
Photos: © LGCT / Stefano Grasso