Andrew Nicholson wins British Eventing Open
Kiwi equestrian Andrew Nicholson has won his third British Eventing Open after an impressive performance at Gatcombe Park in England.
Nicholson, riding Avebury, owned by Mark and Rosemary Barlow, added just 0.4 penalty points to his dressage score to finish on 38.5.
The champion Kiwi also finished seventh on Libby Sellar's Nereo with a points total of 49.9.
"I am very pleased," Nicholson said.
"Avebury is a good horse and has been second here in the Open before... he deserves the win. He's a very economical jumper who doesn't waste any time over the fences, and felt very comfortable round here."
Avebury, who just last month won the CIC3* at Barbury, is Nicholson's reserve horse for the World Equestrian Games later this month, and is sitting on a hat trick for the Burghley Horse Trials in September.
"This is a very important event for preparing (horses like these) for the worlds and Burghley," Nicholson added.
It's been another busy weekend for Nicholson, who had eight horses entered across the grades.
But he said he does it for a very good reason.
"This is a top place to come, even if you don't win. I have had a fall today and stops yesterday, but I bring very young horses here."
The atmosphere and crowds at both the showjumping and cross country, according to Nicholson, is unlike anywhere else for the young horses.
"It is a great training place for the future for horses for the big events. I would love to win with them all but I don't expect to," he said.
"Avebury has fallen here before and Nereo has stopped. It is all part of the training ground and a buzz to ride it."
Nicholson has previously won the Open in 2011 aboard Nereo and in 2002 on Mallards Treat.
Criag Nicolai and his own Just Ironic were 30th on 74 points, while Sir Mark Todd and Oloa placed 35th on 85.9.
Tim Price and his own Bango were third in the intermediate championship.