Andrew Nicholson’s legendary campaigner Nereo has retired from top-level competition at the Mistubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.

Deborah Sellar’s 18-year-old gelding, who won here last year, has been competing at three-star and above for the past decade.

In that time, he has clocked up wins at Bramham CCI3* in 2009, Aachen CIC3* in 2010, Pau CCI4* in 2012, Barbury CIC3* in 2016 and Badminton 2017.

He also finished second at Burghley three times, in 2016, 2013 and 2011, and helped New Zealand to team bronze at the London 2012 Olympics.

“It seemed a good place to retire him,” said Andrew.

“Things didn’t quite work out how I wanted them to, but the show he put on yesterday was superb and hopefully that’s what people will remember him for.”

The combination had been lying in 12th place overnight and were sent to the holding box at the final veterinary inspection on Sunday morning.

Andrew made the decision to withdraw Nereo from the holding box and the horse was officially retired to a standing ovation from the packed stands ahead of the top-20 showjumping rounds.

“In my mind I was always retiring him this weekend,” added Andrew.

“The vet in the holding box wanted me to re-present him, he looked good on the grass but on the hard he wasn’t sound.

“He lost a shoe yesterday, he is getting old and the bones in his feet aren’t as tough as they used to be.

“With what happened at the trot-up, it seemed a good plan when they asked me if I wanted to take him in after the parade — that seemed perfect.”

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Andrew said winning here in 2017 was the “highlight” of Nereo’s career.

“I’ve done it all with him — by performing year after year at this level and at the top, not just making up the numbers, he showed unbelievable toughness.”

Nereo has won five out of his 40 international starts and been placed in the top-10 in 25 others.

Andrew added Nereo will enjoy an active retirement with the rider’s daughter Lily taking over the reins.

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