Andrew Nicholson franked his extraordinary comeback from injury by winning the third leg of the Event Rider Masters series at the St James’s Place Barbury International Horse Trials in Wiltshire on Sunday 10 July.
Riding Libby Sellar’s highly experienced Nereo, the New Zealander showed all of his old brilliance to take the £16,000 first prize.
It was a particularly special victory for Andrew – he has now taken the main class at Barbury Castle for five years in a row, and it is his local event, as he is based just a few miles away in Lockeridge.
He said: “Nereo is fabulous. When you’ve got a horse as experienced as him that knows his job, it’s easy, isn’t it?”
Andrew and Nereo were third after dressage, scoring 37.6, but took the lead with a clear showjumping round despite accruing two time-faults. A faultless cross-country performance round Mark Phillips’ twisting cross-country track inside the time secured him the win.
Australia’s Paul Tapner finished second on Amanda Burns’ Yogi Bear VIII, 4.6 penalties behind Andrew, while Gemma Tattersall’s hot streak continued with third place for Britain on Caroline Teltsch’s eight-year-old mare Santiago Bay.
Gemma holds the overall lead in the Event Rider Masters series, with Paul second to her.
He said: “I’m very happy to hear that Gemma is off to Rio, whereas I am probably not, so I am looking forward to overtaking her at the next leg of the series at Gatcombe (5-7 August)!”
Gemma said: “This is such an exciting mare for the future – she’s everything you want in an event horse.”
Watch how the competition unfolded on Barbury ERM live streams:
Dani Evans and Smart Time took fourth place. There was less than 0.6 of a penalty between Paul, Gemma and Dani and both women completed on their dressage scores.
Marcio Carvalho Jorge, who had led the dressage impressively with Lissy Mac Wayer, scoring 32.5, finished fifth after knocking two showjumps down and picking up a handful of cross-country time-faults.
Sam Griffiths took sixth place for Australia on Happy Times, while William Fox-Pitt was seventh on Cool Mountain.
Don’t miss Horse & Hound’s full report from Barbury, in the magazine on sale Thursday 14 July