Nicholson tops NZers at Aachen
Sun, 08 Jul 2012 1:01p.m.
Olympics-bound three-day eventer Andrew Nicholson topped the New Zealanders at the high-ranking three-star Aachen event in Germany today (NZT).
Nicholson and Nereo were fifth individually, and the New Zealand team fourth in the Nations Cup.
Nicholson finished the dressage in 13th place on 43.6 penalty points, then moved up to eighth after going clear and inside time in the showjumping.
He improved to fifth after another clear round in the cross country.
Equestrian Sports New Zealand high performance director Sarah Harris says Nicholson's efforts were "just magic".
"Nereo made the [cross country] track look easy, and looks fit and ready to go for London," she said.
Olympic reserve Lucy Jackson and Kilcoltrim Ambassador were the next best-performed New Zealanders at 22nd, easing up the field after beginning in 36th with 57.6 penalties in the dressage.
Harris says Jackson's effort was excellent, given the inexperience of her mount.
"It was textbook stuff, remembering this horse is still quite new to the big three-star scene."
Jonathan Paget, who will head to the London Olympics with Nicholson, Mark Todd and Caroline Powell, was disappointed with Bullet Proof's run-out in the cross country.
Paget was 30th after his dressage, picking up two time faults in the showjumping before 20 faults and 31.6 time faults meant a final placing of 32nd.
Todd withdrew both his horses before starting the cross country. He was riding Olympic team-mate Jonelle Richards' Flintstar to give him the big atmosphere experience of Aachen, as well as his own NZB Grass Valley.
Harris says it was never the plan to start Flintstar in the cross country.
"It is too much of a high risk for a catch ride over such a large cross country," she said.
NZB Grass Valley picked up an uncharacteristic 16 faults in the showjumping phase, and was sitting in 41st spot when the decision was made not to start him in the final phase of the competition.
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