Watch: Lamaze battles through broken ribs to win Global Champions League with Hamburg Diamonds

Credit : Stefano Grasso/GCL

Monday 13 November - 16h57 | Ian Clayton

Watch: Lamaze battles through broken ribs to win Global Champions League with Hamburg Diamonds

“He’s got two broken ribs — that can’t be a help, can it?” 

 - Watch: Lamaze battles through broken ribs to win Global Champions League with Hamburg Diamonds

Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 after the last jump

As the British television commentators watched Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 fight their way through to a clear second round at the futuristic Al Shaqab equestrian centre in Doha, the ‘stiff upper lip’-style comment was certainly an understatement. See video of Lamaze’s ride below the break. 

Indeed, at the end of the World No.8's ride in the team Global Champions League Final in Qatar, the Olympic Champion was doubled over in the saddle of Fine Lady, clutching his ribs and visibly distressed. “He is in some pain, I tell you,” the announcers observed. 

Despite it all, and alongside his Longines Global Champions Tour-winning teammate Harrie Smolders (Don VHP Z) — looking on with baited breath as the normally graceful Olympic mare lurched over various obstacles on the course — the Canadian’s Hamburg Diamonds team did what was necessary to secure the League title, finishing fifth out of eighteen teams at the stage. 

All the pressure had been on the two big names for Hamburg, with the second place Valkenswaard United squad represented in Doha by Bertram Allen (Molly Malone) and Alberto Zorzi (Fair Light van T Heike) breathing down their necks after the first round and in the end storming to a convincing victory in the Middle Eastern stage. 

In the GCL in Doha, it was definitely a case of ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’, however. As one commentator said of Lamaze as he grimaced at each take-off and landing over the 1.60m obstacles, “This mare is not looking her usual, composed self. But this man is a remarkable talent.” 

And that remarkable talent and experience, supported by the brilliantly consistent riding of 6th-ranked Smolders — who has had a brilliantly consistent year from the Longines Tour to the European Championships to the Nations Cup — was what the Diamonds needed to climb out of the 11th place hole caused by Lamaze’s own 9-fault first round. 

Next year, the League will be introducing a new, revamped play-off format with €3 million for the triumphant team at the Final in Prague. Lamaze and Smolders are hoping to be back to defend their title alongside their Diamonds teammates, and hopefully in more comfort while doing so. Video below the break. 

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