Badminton four-star event champion Andrew Nicholson could not resist a small jab at Equestrian Sport New Zealand after his outstanding victory at the prestigious four-star event in England today.

The veteran rider, ranked among the world's best for many years, finally climbed the Badminton mountain at his 36th attempt.

But when asked on Radio Sport this morning if his victory, which he rated the best of his career, was a message to ESNZ, after a three-year standoff over an incident at the world games in 2014, he slipped a knife in.

"I've given up worrying about Equestrian Sport New Zealand, and High Performance Sport New Zealand as well," Nicholson, 55, said.

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I just made my own boat, I've done that for the last couple of years. It's me and my family, that's what we do.

"Normally when you're on the high performance model funding you've be at home sipping champagne. We're sipping water, but we're enjoying it."

Former world No 1-ranked rider Nicholson had a physical altercation with a team vet at the world games. Despite attempts at repairing the rift between rider and organisation, all have failed.

Nicholson, ranked third in the classic series and fourth in the world, fought back from a career-threatening fall in 2015 when he suffered a serious neck injury, and has now won nine four-star classic crowns, including five at Burghley.

He led a strong New Zealand performance at Badminton, with Tim Price and Xavier Faer finishing third, and Mark Todd's two mounts taking fourth (NZB Campino) and sixth (Leonidas II) spots.

Listen: Andrew Nicholson on the Radio Sport Breakfast