Andrew Nicholson and Avebury completed a Barbury International Horse Trials hat-trick yesterday (Sunday 6 July) — taking the CIC3* title for the third year running.

Following a strong dressage and clear showjumping round, the pair won the section despite picking up some time-faults on the cross-country.

“He felt pretty good,” said Andrew of Rosemary and Mark Barlow’s grey gelding.

“He’s a horse that seems to like going back to certain places. He was squealing and shying and jumping extravagantly in the warm-up.”

“To win here three times in a row on a horse that was born round here and is named after a local landmark feels pretty good. Bring on Burghley.”

Avebury heads to Gatcombe next — and then a shot at a third Burghley title, if the World Equestrian Games (WEG) doesn’t intervene. He is Andrew’s second choice behind the Aachen-bound Nereo for the New Zealand WEG team.

The pair could score a Burghley treble too, after winning in 2012 and being promoted to winner of last year’s event, following Clifton Promise’s disqualification.

The duo finished 8.6 penalties clear of the runners-up, Francis Whittington and Catherine Witt’s Easy Target.

“I had an amazing ride,” said Francis. “The ground was good and the course was fun to ride. I now know I made the right decision at Badminton [to pull up] because he feels so well and happy.”

Australian rider Paul Tapner finished third on Yogi Bear VIII. He was one of only two riders — along with Beanie Sturgis on Lebowski — to achieve the optimum time of 6min 44sec.

“You have to go out of the start box meaning business here,” said Paul. “Yogi is exceptionally brave and quick and is something of a CIC specialist.”

Pippa Funnell, the 2011 winner, was fourth on Second Supreme ahead of her British team-mate Tina Cook in fifth on her World Equestrian Games hope De Novo News.

Read full report from Barbury in Horse & Hound magazine (10 July, 2014)