New Zealander Andrew Nicholson and Avebury won the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials today, making it his third victory in 17 years.
“It’s a few years since I’ve won a four-star, but it just shows you have to keep going in this sport,” said Andrew, 51. “I’ve had Avebury since he was a foal and there have been days when he’s let me down and days when he probably thought I let him down, so this is very satisfying.”
The 12-year-old Avebury, by the Irish Draught sire Jumbo, belongs to Nicholson’s long-time owner Rosemary Barlow, who is well known for organising international supporters’ pavilions at championships, but has never had a four-star winner in 30 years of event horse ownership.
The horse, which Nicholson sold to a jumping yard as a four-year-old and then bought back two years later, was first evented by his partner Wiggy Channer until Nicholson ‘stole him back’.
Andrew Nicholson had been in second place going into the final phase, with William Fox-Pitt in third.
There was very few clears round the showjumping track, and when William and Parklane Hawk had two fences down and Andrew had one, they handed the overnight leader Sinead Halpin a two-fence margin.
But to the disbelief of the crowds, the American hit three rails on Manoir de Carneville and finished second.
“My horse warmed up beautifully but he was possibly a little bit tired. It was disappointing, but I’m really proud of him,” said Sinead, who missed out on Olympic selection earlier this summer. “I haven’t done as much as these guys [Nicholson and Fox-Pitt] but I will be back, again and again and again!”
Final results at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials
1 Andrew Nicholson/Avebury (NZL) 41.0 + 0.8 + 4 = 45.8
2 Sinead Halpin/Manoir de Carneville (USA) 36.3 + 0.0 + 12 = 48.3
3 William Fox-Pitt/Parklane Hawk (GBR) 41.0 + 2.4 + 8 = 51.4
4 Oliver Townend/Armada (GBR) 43.5 + 0.0 + 8 = 51.5
5 Jonathan Paget/Clifton Lush (NZL) 46.2 + 2.0 + 4 = 52.2
6 Allison Springer/Arthur (USA) 40.0 + 9.2 + 8 = 57.2
7 Izzy Taylor/Briarlands Matilda (GBR) 50.5 + 6.8 + 4 = 61.3
8 Kai Ruder/Le Prince des Bois (GER) 41.0 + 17.2 + 4 = 57.2
9 Sam Griffiths/Happy Times (AUS) 42.0 + 4.4 + 16 = 63.0
10 Bettina Hoy/Lanfranco TSF (GER) 49.0 + 14.0 + 0 = 63.0