It has taken 37 attempts but New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson finally has his first Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials title!
Nicholson’s debut win, at one of eventing’s most prestigious 4* competitions, comes just two years after the 55-year-old suffered a serious neck injury in a fall. He first competed in the event in 1984.
Sitting third overnight after yesterday’s tricky cross country phase, Nicholson, who was riding the 17-year-old Nereo, jumped clear incurring only one time fault – but that was enough to seal victory.
German rider Michael Jung, who had won the Kentucky three-day-event just a week earlier and was riding La Biosthetique Sam FBW, had a fence down for second place, finishing just 2.6 penalties behind Andrew.
Overnight leaders Ingrid Klimke and Horseware Hale Bob OLD had a nightmare on course, with three fences down, a stop and seven time faults, meaning the win was handed to the New Zealander and a ninth place overall finish for Klimke.
Klimke had been bidding to become the first female rider to win Badminton since Australian rider Lucinda Fredericks in 2007.
Nicholson’s fellow compatriot Tim Price finished in third place, after picking up a total of 49.2 penalties aboard Xavier Faer.
Best of the British contingent was Rosalind Canter, who finished in fifth place after a clear round in the final phase, riding her own and Caroline Moore’s 11-year-old Allstar B.
Gemma Tattersall jumped a massive 60 places after jumping a double clear on former racehorse Arctic Soul. She had finished 67th after the dressage phase.
Seasoned campaigner Tina Cook finished 10th with one of two young horses, Billy the Red, while another Kiwi, Sir Mark Todd finished in fourth and sixth with NZB Campino and Leonidas II respectively.
Japanese rider Yoshiaki Oiwa finished in eighth with 62.2 penalties aboard The Duke of Cavan – the highest ever finish for a Japanese rider at Badminton.
Looking to the future, British rider Tom McEwen and his 10-year-old horse Toledo De Kerser, which he co-owns with Jane Inns and Ali McEwen, finished just outside the top 10 in 11th place.
Final standings (top 10)…
1. Andrew Nicholson (NZ) (Nereo) 41.4 pens
2. Michael Jung (Germany) (La Biosthetique Sam FBW) 44
3. Tim Price (NZ) (Xavier Faer) 49.2
4. Mark Todd (NZ) (NZB Campino) 50.4
5. Rosalind Canter (GB) (Allstar B) 54.5
6. Mark Todd (NZ) (Leonidas II) 58.1
7. Gemma Tattersall (GB) (Arctic Soul) 60.2
8. Yoshiaki Oiwa (Japan) (The Duke of Cavan) 62.2
9. Ingrid Klimke (Germany) (Horseware Hale Bob) 62.6
10. Kristina Cook (GB) (Billy the Red) 63.4