Wearing a toque and sunglasses and his riding jacket zipped up, Eric Lamaze analyzed the course on Wednesday in the same way he always does.
And there was also some familiarity about his dominant presence in the Friends of the Meadows Challenge on the opening day of the Spruce Meadows National — which was likely comforting to his supporters across the country.
In his first appearance at the southwest Calgary show jumping facility since going public with the news that he has been living with a brain tumour for the last year and a half, the 51-year-old rode Coco Bongo and Fine Lady 5, finishing 21st aboard Coco Bongo.
Jordan Coyle of Ireland and Bold Prinz wound up winning the event with his quick 64.60-second loop around the Peter Grant-designed course.
“If you don’t with the first class, you can’t win them all,” joked Coyle.
Amy Millar of Perth, Ont., was the top Canadian finishing 17th and 19th aboard Truman and Heros, respectively.
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