Nicholson bounces back after disappointment

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 07:37 17/06/2013
Andrew Nicholson
LIBBY LAW PHOTOGRAPHY - NZL
BOUNCING BACK: Andrew Nicholson has bounced back from his Badminton disappointment with another emphatic win.

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Andrew Nicholson has bounced back from his Badminton disappointment with another emphatic win at the elite level of three-day eventing.

The New Zealander is celebrating his sixth career win at four-star level, and fourth in the past year, after completing an excellent victory Luhmuhlen four-star event in Germany today (NZT).

Riding Mr Cruise Control, the world's top-ranked rider notched a perfect clear showjumping round to see off the challenge of Zara Phillips on High Kingdom, who was just 1.7 penalty points behind.

World No 2 William Fox-Pitt was third on Neuf des Coeurs, the Britons having to settle for the minor places as they have done so often in the past 12 months when Nicholson has been in the field.

The 51-year-old Kiwi and the big grey were third after the dressage, but hit the front of after a faultless cross-country round that caused plenty of headaches for many.

After Phillips went clear in the final showjumping phase today, Nicholson knew one dropped rail or time penalties would dash his title hopes.

But the expert jumper delivered under pressure, collecting his fourth four-star win from his last five starts. Four-star events, of which there are six in the world, are the pinnacle of three-day eventing outside the Olympics and Nicholson has won at Burghley, Pau, Kentucky and now Luhmuhlen in the past year.

He was also third at Badminton last month, dipping out to fellow Kiwi Jock Paget. It means New Zealanders have won five of the last six four-star events in the last year, the only title missing is Adelaide but none of Kiwis entered the event.

Nicholson was also sixth at Luhmuhlen on Rathmoyle King while Olympic teammate Jonelle Richards and Flintstar finished eighth.

Paget withdrew Bullet Proof before the cross-country after the horse seemed a little sore. Just 32 of the 50-strong field finished all three disciplines.

Nicholson's win will reinforce his top ranking.

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