Lamaze back to Europe as sole North American at this weekend's CSI5* Dutch Masters

Fine Lady 5
Credit : Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping (Facebook)

Thursday 08 March - 16h39 | Ian Clayton

Lamaze back to Europe as sole North American at this weekend's CSI5* Dutch Masters

“Here we come!”

 - Lamaze back to Europe as sole North American at this weekend's CSI5* Dutch Masters

That was the message of Olympic Gold Medallist and multiple majors winner Eric Lamaze of Canada, who shared a picture from the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping of his star mount Fine Lady 5 on social media yesterday.

Lamaze will be the sole rider from North America (and the Americas in general) at this weekend’s prestigious CSI5* Dutch Masters competition in ´s-Hertogenbosch, in the southern Netherlands. The event is the newest member of the Grand Slam of Show Jumping alongside the CHIO Aachen, CSIO Spruce Meadows Masters, and CHI Geneva.

The current World No.12 has been competing in recent weeks alongside other top riders from his home continent at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida. He also recently combined with Ian Millar to lead Canada to a win in the $450,000 CSIO5* Longines Nations Cup qualifier, on Sunday, February 18 in Ocala, also in the Sunshine State.

In the past, putting aside the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final (which Lamaze is not taking part in), most top North American riders would not come to Europe until after the WEF, and even that timing has been pushed back with the Longines Global Champions Tour kicking off in Mexico City and Miami Beach before heading to China. And for a rider like Lamaze, who is based part of the year in Belgium, there are more choices than ever in terms of planning the year’s competition calendar.

Still, there are different incentives for him to come to the Netherlands now with lead horses Fine Lady and Chacco Kid. First, for the competition itself – a chance to make a mark at the debut of the Dutch Masters as part of the Grand Slam against a star-studded group of rivals from Europe. Also, there is his long association with the watch brand and sponsor, which is an important relationship for the 50-year-old Olympian. And of course there is a lot of prize money on the line, with the four Grand Prix endowed with prize money totalling 5 million (Aachen - 1 million euros, Spruce Meadows - 2.1 million euros, Geneva - 1.1 million Euros, ´s-Hertogenbosch - 800,000 euros).

Indeed, as described on the series’ site, there are lucrative bonuses up for grabs, as is the case in the Longines Masters indoor Grand Slam series:  “Anyone who wins three shows in a row receives 1 million Euros on top of the prize-money of each show. If that same rider then continues their success by winning a fourth Major in succession, they will be rewarded with an additional 1 million Euro bonus. Moreover, anyone who wins two out of the four shows also receives a bonus.  If two shows are won in succession, the bonus is 500,000 Euros. If the rider is successful in qualifying for the “Two out of four mode”, but doesn’t claim the victories at two consecutive shows, the bonus total 250,000 Euros.  It is only the rider that counts. It is possible to claim the bonus riding different horses.”
Indeed, a couple of other riders in particular in Holland this weekend who will have those bonuses on their minds are Philipp Weishaupt of Germany, winner of the 2017 Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows, and Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet, who won last summer in Aachen. The United States’ Kent Farrington, who claimed victory in Geneva on Gazelle, could have been expected to join Lamaze at the competition in the Brabanthallen venue, but is currently out of action after an injury last month. The man currently trailing him in the Longines Rankings of 5* Show Jumpers, World No.2 Harrie Smolders of the Netherlands, will be looking for points to try to overtake Farrington as he competes in front of his home crowd.

 - Lamaze back to Europe as sole North American at this weekend's CSI5* Dutch Masters

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