7 September - Andrew Nicholson rode into the record books at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials earlier today. He became the first rider to have won the prestigious title three times consecutively on the same horse.

Rosemary Barlow’s beautiful grey Avebury had the crowd on the edge of their seats as he tapped his way around the course, but all the fences stayed up. Andrew collected two time faults, but he had enough penalties in hand to win.

Andrew said: “Avebury loves coming here. It’s always a major work out for them, yet he still leaves the start box with his ears pricked and can’t wait to give it a go.

“Going into the showjumping, I knew Sam has been enjoying a purple patch, but Oliver was going to have to pull some rabbit out of a hat to jump clear, so i thought Jock was my biggest danger.”

Jock Paget duly produced a great clear with Clifton Promise to rise from fourth to second. Sam Griffiths dropped from second to third after Happy Times had two fences down.

Sam said: “I felt I had a couple of cheap rails. Unfortunately jumping can be his Achilles heel. To finish third is still an immense thrill.”

In third place after cross-country, Oliver Townend had a showjumping round to forget. Armada booted out four rails to drop him into eighth place.

William Fox-Pitt squeezed a great clear round out of Bay My Hero to finish fourth ahead of Gemma Tattersall with Arctic Soul, who was also clear. Izzy Taylor was the remaining British rider in the top 10 with KBIS Briarlands Matilda, finishing seventh with two fences down.

Twelve combinations jumped double clear on the final day. Fence five (pictured right) was most influential on the course, with numerous horses faulting here. This was the middle fence of a related distance with oxers before and after. The time was not unduly tight with only six of the 38 who came forward collecting time faults.

Paul Sims has won the prize for the highest placed Burghley first-timer with Glengarnock, while the highest-placed rider under-25 rider was Harry Dzenis riding Xam.

About the winning horse
Andrew Nicholson bred the 14-year-old Avebury from Jumbo, a stallion he competed to CCI3* level, and a racing-bred thoroughbred mare Memento (formerly Bairn Free). Avebury is named after ancient earthworks near the Nicholsons’ home. He is the only horse in history to win a CCI4* three times in a row – Kimberly Severson’s Winsome Adante has won Kentucky three times, though not consecutively – and only the second CCI4* winner bred by the rider (following Mary King’s Kings Temptress, winner of Kentucky in 2011).

Final results at Burghley 
1. Andrew Nicholson/Avebury (NZL) 40.5 + 5.6 + 2 = 48.1
2. Jock Paget/Clifton Promise (NZL) 38.8 + 16.4 + 0 = 55.2
3. Sam Griffiths/Happy Times (AUS) 40.2 + 9.6 + 8 = 57.8
4. William Fox-Pitt/Bay My Hero (GBR) 39.5 + 20.8 + 0 = 60.3
5. Gemma Tattersall/Arctic Soul (GBR) 53.0 + 11.2 + 0 = 64.2
6. Bill Levett/Improvise (AUS) 48.7 + 17.2 + 0 = 65.9
7. Izzy Taylor/Briarlands Matilda (GBR) 48.3 + 11.2 + 8 = 67.5
8. Oliver Townend/Armada (GBR) 48.3 + 6.8 + 16 = 71.1
9. Jonelle Price/The Deputy (NZL) 53.5 + 17.6 + 0 = 71.1
10.  Murray Lamperd/Under the Clocks (AUS) 50.2 + 18.8 + 10 = 79.0

Full results on www.burghley-horse.co.uk

FEI Classics™ 2013/2014 Leaderboard
1 William Fox-Pitt (GBR) 38 points, $40,000
2 Sam Griffiths (AUS) 25, $35,000
3 Oliver Townend (GBR) 23, $25,000
4 Andrew Nicholson (NZL) 21, $15,000
5 Tim Price (NZL) 17, $5,000

source: www.horseandhound.co.uk and fei.org

image: Andrew Nicholson (NZL) and Avebury who have won the Land Rover Burhley Horse Trials, last leg of the FEI Classics™, for the third consecutive time. (Trevor Holt/FEI)