Canada’s Eric Lamaze, riding Fine Lady 5, competes during the equestrian individual jumping competition at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016. Lamaze won the bronze medal. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Lamaze, Fine Lady defend title in Aachen

AACHEN, Germany — Canada’s Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady won a jump-off to defend their title in a lucrative show-jumping class Wednesday at the World Equestrian Festival.

The Olympic bronze medallists in Rio last year went clear in a time of 42.97 seconds to claim the C$145,000 Turkish Airlines Prize of Europe. Lamaze, from Schomberg, Ont., and Fine Lady were among 20 pairings in a field of 60 to qualify for the jump-off.

They beat four-time Olympic champion Ludger Beerbaum of Germany, who was second in 43.05 seconds on Chiara 22. Bertram Allen of Ireland and Molly Malone V were third in 43.06.

“To win here in Aachen is very prestigious, especially for a Canadian, and it’s very special to win two years in a row,” Lamaze said in a release. “The course was big and included a pair of double liverpools that caused a lot of problems.

“When we first walked it, a lot of riders thought it was too big for the first day, but you have the best in the world competing here and ended up with 20 in the jump-off.”

Lamaze and Fine Lady arrived in Aachen after competing at Calgary’s Spruce Meadows, where they were third in the $500,000 ATCO Queen Elizabeth 2 Cup.

“Fine Lady didn’t win anything in Calgary but she was close a few times, and she gave me a lot of confidence coming into today’s competition,” Lamaze said.

He used Aachen as his final warmup event for Rio last year, but didn’t enter Fine Lady in the Rolex Grand Prix then. The duo will compete in that $1.45-million class Sunday.

Lamaze won it in 2010 aboard his late mount Hickstead, who died of an aortic rupture the following year while competing in Verona, Italy.

Lamaze won gold aboard Hickstead and helped Canada to a team silver at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

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