The world’s Top 10 riders gathered for a thrilling competition on Friday 9 December, in the sixteenth edition of this world-famous spectacle and the twelfth time it has been staged at CHI Geneva. Crowds for the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final were treated to an evening of excitement, tension and elation as last to go, Rolex Testimonee Eric Lamaze, produced a spectacular round to take title spot and reign victorious.
Staged over two nail biting rounds without a jump-off, pin point accuracy and upmost precision is required to win the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final. With five riders jumping fault-free in the first round, the stage was set for an exhilarating final round.
Christian Ahlmann took a commanding lead in round two, setting a superb time of 43.05 seconds which looked hard to beat. The last three riders of the class to go were Rolex Testimonees Steve Guerdat, Kevin Staut and Eric Lamaze. Even the elite riders, Staut and Guerdat, were unable to push Ahlmann out of title spot, leaving it to Canada’s Eric Lamaze to challenge the German rider. In true Lamaze style, he looked to shave off hundreds of seconds at every corner aboard his mare Fine Lady 5. With the packed crowd on the edge of their seats, and fixated on the clock, he finished in a time of 42.56 seconds, providing Lamaze with the narrowest of margins to win the class for the first time in his career and adding this title to his stellar roster of global equestrian achievements.
Speaking after his victory, a delighted Lamaze said, “We all saw Christian go in the jump-off, I thought the competition was over. Fine Lady is naturally very fast but I knew I didn’t have any option but to try everything. I was lucky enough to have a galloping distance to the Rolex oxer at the end, I took the opportunity and I think that made the difference.
“Fine Lady 5 is an amazing horse, to win the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final, I could not ask for any more.”
CHI Geneva will now look ahead to Sunday where it will see the retirement of Rolex Testimonee Steve Guerdat’s wonder horse, Nino des Buissonnets, in an emotional farewell after the Rolex Grand Prix, part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. Guerdat obtained third spot tonight in the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final, with a superb performance riding Corbinian.