Andrew Nicholson and Avebury beat their own illustrious record at the Barbury International Horse Trials, sponsored by St James’s Place Wealth Management, with a magnificent fourth consecutive victory in the showpiece CIC3* class.
No horse in the history of eventing has ever won a class of this stature four times in succession. Last to go after a long afternoon’s tense wait, Rosemary and Mark Barlow’s wonderful 15-year-old grey was flawless across country, finishing 12 seconds inside the optimum time and easily holding his lead. There can’t be many horses that not only have the signature fence named after them, but also the public bar, where delighted crowds cheered the local favourites home to victory.
New Zealand riders, many of whom are based close to Barbury, have had a superb weekend, winning all three of yesterday’s CCI2* classes and scoring a 1-2-3 in the CCI3*with Andrew second on Nereo and Sir Mark Todd third on Leonidas ll.
“Avebury definitely knew where he was – he felt as if he really knew his way round and could have gone even faster,” said Andrew. “And I was thrilled with Nereo as well, who felt great. It’s a privilege to ride two horses like that.”
Nicola Wilson, the winner in 2010, was best British rider in fourth place on the delightful skewbald mare Beltane Queen, and another Kiwi, Tim Price, was fifth on Ringwood Sky Boy.
Laura Collett, who is also based locally, won the Horse Trials Support Group’s prize for the best British rider 25 and under; she was sixth on Grand Manouevre.
Chinese rider Alex Hua Tian, who was second overnight, rode a beautiful clear round on Don Geniro but took it steadily because the horse is only eight and was contesting his first CCI3*; they finished 16th with 18 time penalties.
Despite the rain, which, at times, was torrential, there were some brilliant performances around Mark Phillips’s big, bold course which offers such spectacular viewing in the natural amphitheatre at Barbury.
In The Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) Championship, rider of the 20th century and former racehorse trainer Sir Mark Todd paid tribute to the thoroughbred horse, following his win riding Front Street.
The pair jumped a clear round in the jump off, which featured the top ten finishes of the RoR class on Friday completing on a mark of 30.1 penalties.
Todd remarked; “I love thoroughbreds they have brilliant minds to work with. I used to train racehorses in New Zealand and now we’ve just won a big Retraining of Racehorses class here at Barbury proving their versatility. Front Street is such a genuine fellow and tries his heart out, which is typical of his breed.”
Front Street, 11 years old, ran a total of eight times, with a third place in chase at Plumpton his most successful finish.
In addition to riding in seven Olympic games Todd has won two Olympic gold medals. Following his retirement from eventing after the 2000 Sydney Olympics, he trained racehorses in his native home of New Zealand. Bramble Rose was a notable flagbearer for him and finished second in the Australian Oaks in 2003. However, Todd returned to the saddle prior to the Beijing Olympics and subsequently won the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials in 2011 with NZB Land Vision.
Mark received his trophy from Oliver Sherwood who trained Many Clouds to win this year’s Crabbies Grand National in April.
Cut to the Chase ridden by Georgina Rockingham and Generoso with Simon Grieve on board finished in second and third place respectively.
For information barburyhorsetrials.co.uk. For full results: http://www.barburyhorsetrials.co.uk/new/main-event-entries-and-results/