Canadian riders ready to shine at Spruce Meadows' season finale
Lamaze, Chad compete in Calgary ahead of World Equestrian Games
Some of the world's finest show jumpers will be kicking off a big month for the equestrian world at the season's final competition at Spruce Meadows this weekend.
CBCSports.ca's live streaming of the weekend's action begins Saturday at 12:45 p.m. ET and runs through Sunday, and you can catch more coverage on Road to the Olympic Games on CBC-TV on both Saturday and Sunday (check local listings).
With the World Equestrian Games on the horizon, the Masters still offers plenty of intrigue as the year's third stop for the Grand Slam of Show Jumping. Sunday's CP International Grand Prix (1:30 p.m. ET and 3 p.m. ET on CBCSports.ca; 3 p.m. ET on CBC-TV) will include tons of star power, with four of the world's top-10 ranked riders competing.
Among them will be fifth-ranked Eric Lamaze, who was recently named to Canada's WEG team. The 50-year-old veteran from Schomberg, Ont., is always a threat in Calgary.
The 2008 Olympic champion enjoyed home advantage in July when he rode double clear with Fine Lady 5 to win the Queen Elizabeth II Cup.
Lamaze will look to replicate that performance with the 15-year-old mare, as he already stated that he'd be bringing Chacco Kid to WEG in Mill Spring, N.C., for competition beginning Sept. 19.
"Fine Lady had her championships at the Olympics in Rio. I think the world championships would be too much for her at this stage in her career," Lamaze told the Canadian Press.
Look ahead to WEG
Spruce Meadows fans could get a preview from Chacco Kid, as Lamaze has also brought the 12-year-old gelding to Calgary.
Lamaze's WEG teammate Calgarian Kara Chad will also be competing over the weekend, as well as Canadian stalwarts Tiffany Foster and Ian Millar.
Millar, 71, didn't have a horse to compete at the previous Spruce Meadows events this season but returns to high-level competition with his 15-year-old gelding Dixson. Captain Canada could come back to anchor the host nation's four-rider team in Saturday's BMO Nations' Cup (4 p.m. ET and 8 p.m. ET on CBCSports.ca; check local listing for CBC-TV coverage).
In the team event, each nation has four riders compete in the first round, where the top three scores determine which countries move on. And only the top six nations from the first round advance for a chance at the podium.
Of the international competitors, all eyes will be on Germany's Marcus Ehning, who is ranked third and is the current Grand Slam contender. After a win on home soil at CHIO Aachen in July, the 44-year-old would be in line to complete the Grand Slam in December in Geneva with a victory Sunday at Spruce Meadows.
Watch highlights of Ehning's victory in Germany:
In the midst of a comeback season, American Kent Farrington has had his ups and downs but continues to find success at Spruce Meadows. After suffering a broken leg earlier this year, the former world No. 1 missed about three months of action and fell in the rankings.
Currently sitting eighth, the 37-year-old was victorious in July's Winning Round and opened the season with a win in June's Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows.
Switzerland's Steve Guerdat rounds out the top 10-ranked competitors. The world No. 9 has competed in all 17 Grand Slams since the event's inception in 2013.
Despite his consistency, Guerdat has only won this event twice, riding to victory in 2013 and 2015 at home in Geneva.
CBC Sports' live coverage also includes Saturday's Suncor Cup Winning Round (12:45 p.m. ET and 4 p.m. ET on CBCSports.ca; 4 p.m. ET on CBC-TV).