Third Burghley title for Nicholson
Mon, 03 Sep 2012 6:50p.m.
By Andrew Gourdie
Seventeen years after winning his first title, Kiwi equestrian Andrew Nicholson has won the Burghley horse trials for the third time.
Riding aboard Avebury, Nicholson's victory in the prestigious four-star event has gone some way to erasing memories of a frustrating Olympic campaign.
His third title is deeply satisfying for the top ranked three-day rider in the world.
“I've been very consistent over the last few years – seconds, thirds at the big ones – and to finally win it again is a great buzz,” says Nicholson.
The 51-year-old entered the final showjumping phase in second place, trailing American rider Sinead Halpin by a single rail.
“I just tried not to panic and just thought it's only one rail, keep your cool don't alter anything, and I know Sinead’s horse is not the best showjumper either,” he says.
So it proved during Halpin's run, as three dropped rails handed Nicholson the title.
Victory was a just reward for Nicholson, who was part of the New Zealand team which won bronze at the London Olympics. He endured a frustrating campaign on a personal level after a controversial judging decision during the dressage robbed him of a shot at individual glory.
That came today, but he was quick to praise his Kiwi team mates, four of whom finished in the top 20.
“I think it's a good advert for us,” he says.
“We're all very, very competitive but we've grown to be able to help each other when we can and at the same time respect whoever's in with a winning chance.”
And there's no shortage of respect for Nicholson after cementing his status as a true equestrian great.
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