It's two from two for world No1 Andrew Nicholson, with a convincing win at the Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials this morning, and Mark Todd second in the other big class of the event.
Nicholson, who just a week ago won the Burghley International Horse Trials aboard Quimbo, led from the start in the CIC three star British Championship class for eight- and nine-year-old horses, to notch his first Blenheim win since 1991.
"He's a lovely horse, very easy to ride and has an amazing jump," said Nicholson of the handsome Spanish bred dark brown gelding. "He's probably one of the most experienced horses in the field and has been doing advanced since he was three."
Kiwi riders Caroline Powell aboard Onwards and Upwards and Jonelle Richards on Wesko were the only two of 59 combinations to go clear and inside time.
William Fox-Pitt of Great Britain bagged his 50th three-day event win aboard Seacookie in the CCI three star, with Todd and Conair just behind them for second place. Todd put the pressure on Fox-Pitt, who couldn't afford to drop a rail in the showjumping.
There was plenty of praise for Todd's efforts aboard the inexperienced Conair.
"The horse was very well prepared by Rodney Powell - his usual rider - and Alex Franklin," said Todd. "When I schooled him earlier this week I said that if we managed a decent dressage and jumped clear we might just do all right. That was a mega clear round [in the showjumping]."
CIC three star British Championship class for 8 and 9 year old horses (final): Andrew Nicholson (NZL) Quimbo (owned by Deborah Sellar) 40.7 penalty points 1, William Fox-Pitt (GBR) Bay My Hero 44.8 2, Izzy Taylor (GBR) Kbis Starchaser 46 3, Caroline Powell (NZL) Onwards and Upwards owned by Cameron and Mary Crawford and Powell) 52.2 10, Jonelle Richards (NZL) Wesko (owned Christina Knudsen) 55.5 14, Mark Todd (NZL) Leonidas II (owned by Diane Brunsden, Peter Cattell and Todd) 63.2 20, NZL) Playtime NZPH (owned by Chris Ellis) 80 37, Neil Spratt (NZL) Fernhill Quality Street 115.6 56.
CCI three star (final):
William Fox-Pitt (GBR) Seacookie 39 penalty points 1, Mark Todd (NZL) Conair (owned by Suzie Belsham) 42 2, Kristina Cook (GBR) De Novo News 42.8 3, Jonelle Richards (NZL) Mere Oak (owned by Lucy and Ben Sangster) 59 16, Dan Jocelyn (NZL) Special Advocate 75.2 29, Jonelle Richards (NZL) The Deputy 79.8 32, Juliet Wood (NZL) Bold Trader 80 33, Neil Spratt (NZL) Elton II 153.6 57, Lucy Jackson (NZL) Kilcoltrim Ambassador (owned by the Sprout Syndicate) withdrawn before the showjumping, Caroline Powell (NZL) Thornfield Jones eliminated in the cross country, Lizzie Brown (NZL) Henton Attorney General eliminated in the cross country, Andrew Nicholson (NZL) Viscount George (owned by Robin and Nicola Salmon) retired in the cross country.