Wellington, Florida, USA – March 18, 2021 – Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Chacco Kid, owned by the Chacco Kid Group, were back in fine form on Thursday, March 18, winning the $37,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m CSI 3*, the feature class in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).
The handiwork of course designer Michel Vaillancourt (CAN) was on display as 66 horse-and-rider combinations attempted the test consisting of 14 jumping obstacles. Lamaze, 19th to go in the starting order, answered all the questions of the 1.45m speed track to emerge victorious aboard the 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Chacco Blue x Come On), crossing the timers in a speedy 58.26 seconds to take the title.
Olivia Chowdry (USA) and Chuck Berry 8, owned by Atlas Equine Holdings, LLC, finished just off the mark for a second-place finish. The 29-year-old rider piloted the 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Chacco Blue x Watzmann) to a quick clear round in 58.84 seconds.
Adrienne Sternlicht (USA) and the Starlight Farms’ Cadans Z, a 12-year-old Zangersheide mare (Carosso VDL x Navarone), rounded out the podium in third, stopping the clock at 59.53 seconds.
The winning combination also picked up a victory in the same class on January 13 as part of WEF 1. Their success in the show ring is often in the speed format which is quite the opposite to the personality of the little horse outside the International Arena.
“He’s very quiet, very easy, and very different when he’s outside of the ring,” said Lamaze. “He looks high strung in the ring, but not so much in real life. He’s a little horse. He knows he needs rhythm and speed to jump these fences, so he kind of grows to that in the ring, and I’ve come to learn to go along with that.”
“These types of classes are good for Chacco,” explained Lamaze. “He’s naturally fast so you don’t really feel like you’re actually pushing him to be fast. It’s just his natural way of going. He’s a very quick horse, and I like these classes to set up for the grand prix with him. It’s nice to get his lungs opened up a bit and give him a nice gallop around the ring.”
Lamaze, currently ranked twenty-third in the world, has recently returned from a few weeks of competition in Doha, Qatar, which included a third-place finish in the CSI 5* grand prix. He left Chacco in the hands of his team in Wellington and is excited to close out the rest of WEF with the talented gelding.
“I returned here to some fresh horses,” said Lamaze. “We have a person that rides him on the flat that did a great job. He had jumped enough by that point [week 7], so he just needed to keep going while I was in Doha. My other horses stayed in Europe, so Chacco is going to be the leading horse until the Rolex Grand Prix [week 11]. I’m happy to be back. These types of classes are hard to win because people are sometimes trying to make their horse fast. I’m lucky that mine is naturally fast so I just follow the turns and shorten up a few things and very often he ends up being at the top of the class.”
Week 10 of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), sponsored by Horseware Ireland, runs through March 21 and will feature three-star competition in the International Arena. On Friday, competition will showcase the $20,000 Spy Coast Farm Developing Jumper Series 7 Year Old Classic, the $15,000 Spy Coast Farm Developing Jumper Series 6 Year Old Classic, the $10,000 Spy Coast Farm Developing Jumper Series 5 Year Old Classic, as well as the $37,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Round 10. Saturday features the $37,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic, and Sunday’s competition is highlighted by the $50,000 Hermès Under 25 Final as well as the $137,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3*. Feature classes are available free live and on-demand on the livestream.
Source: Press release by Kate Pettersen and Sabrina Brashares / Jennifer Wood Media Inc. for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions / PBIEC – Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
Photos: © Sportfot