Andrew Nicholson created history this morning at the Barbury Castle International Horse Trials and had the perfect confidence boost as he prepares for the London Olympics.
Nicholson won the CIC 3 star event aboard Avebury and was second on Quimbo, and notched perfect cross country rounds on both horses. No New Zealander has ever won the prestigious Barbury Castle event before.
"I'm thrilled to win here," said Nicholson. "Barbury is a fantastic track and it's my local competition. In the build up to the Olympics there is a lot of pressure because this is a key event, so it is great to put strong performance in now."
Lucy Jackson and Animator II held on to finish in ninth place in the star-studded field.
But it wasn't such a glowing day for the rest of the Kiwi crew, all of whom are keen to impress the Olympic selectors before the team is named tomorrow (Wed).
Jonathan Paget and Clifton Lush, who were lying in second spot going into the final phase, parted company during the cross country, eliminating them from the event.
Mark Todd, who was in third overnight was also eliminated after he and NZB Campino missed a fence in the final stages of the cross country course.
However, there was another Kiwi star in another class at Barbury today. Tim Price rode Vortex to a lovely win in the retraining of racehorse's championship, with Dan Jocelyn and Valemont third.
"The win is great for Vortex," said Price. "He is a bit of an old campaigner now, and it's good to be out with him as we have missed a couple of competitions this year due to the rain."
CIC 3 star (final result): Andrew Nicholson (NZL) Avebury 41.6 penalty points 1, Andrew Nicholson (NZL) Quimbo 49.8 2, Lucy Wiegersma (GBR) Simon Porloe 50.2 3, Oliver Townend (GBR) Pepper Anne 50.8 4, Tiana Coudary (USA) Ringwood Magister 51.2 5, Martin Boyd (USA) Remington XXV 53.4 6, Nicola Wilson (GBR) Opposition Buzz 53.6 7, Kitty King (GBR) Zidante 54.4 8, Lucy Jackson (NZL) Animator II 55.8 9, Clarke Johnstone (NZL) Orient Express VI 64.6 29, Alice Montgomery (NZL) Gordon IV 70 43, Craig Nicolai (NZL) Just Ironic 72 47, Jesse Campbell (NZL) Kaapachino 77.2 53, Bruce Haskell (NZL) Kiwi Smog 79.8 58, Lucy Jackson (NZL) Kilcoltrim Ambassador retired cross country, Jonathan Paget (NZL) Clifton Promise eliminated cross country, Mark Todd (NZL) NZB Campino eliminated cross country, Debbie Mitchell (NZL) Waimak withdrawn from showjumping.