Andrew Nicholson showjumped clear to clinch his first Luhmühlen horse trials CCI4* title in Germany this afternoon.
He had no margin for error when he cantered into the atmospheric main arena on Mr Cruise Control as Zara Phillips and High Kingdom lay less than 2pens behind.
“Mr Cruise Control has been here a few times and he has always showjumped well,” said Andrew. “But when Zara went clear I knew I had to knuckle down and do my job and luckily the horse did his bit for me too.”
This is Andrew’s fourth CCI4* victory in nine months following wins at Burghley, Pau and Kentucky. The Kiwi now has an unassailable lead in the HSBC FEI Classics, which culminates at Burghley in September. William Fox-Pitt lies second in the series on 36 points but even if he wins the Lincolnshire event he cannot catch Andrew, who has 55.
“I have a much better class of horses compared to 10 years ago. I am very grateful for what they — and their owners — do for me,” added Andrew.
Runner-up Zara Phillips said: “I tried to put pressure on Andrew, but unfortunately I didn’t quite do it enough. It was a big showjumping track but High Kingdom came out of yesterday feeling well and he jumped easily.”
William Fox-Pitt piloted Neuf Des Coeurs and Lionheart into third and fourth respectively.
“It’s been a happy weekend,” he said. “Both horses finished on their dressage scores and I couldn’t ask anymore of them.”
Thirty-two horses came forward to negotiate the 13-fence track and only 10 crossed the finish line without a penalty.
One rolled pole dropped Australian Kevin McNab two places to fifth with Clifton Pinot, while Andrew Nicholson slotted into sixth aboard Rathmoyle King.
Andrew Hoy, lying fourth overnight, did not present Rutherglen at the final horse inspection this morning.
Earlier in the day Michael Jung headed the CIC3* with Halunke FBW, the horse he has earmarked for the European Championships in August.
Full results on www.luhmuehlen.de
- Don’t miss Horse & Hound’s full report from Luhmuhlen in next Thursday’s magazine, on sale 20 June 2013