New Zealander Andrew Nicholson has won the 2012 Burghley International Horse Trials in England.

Fresh from winning bronze in the team eventing at the London Olympics, the 51-year-old claim his third Burghley title - considered one of the greatest four star events in the world.

Riding 12-year-old grey gelding Avebury, Nicholson took a single rail in the showjumping but won by 2.5 penalty points ahead of overnight leader American Sinead Halpin, who dropped three rails.

"I'm not surprised to win, but highly delighted," said Nicholson. "I came here expecting to do well and Avebury has been on good form all year, so knew we had a chance."


Nicholson, who was second last year, has twice before won the Burghley crown - in 1995 on Buckey Province and 2000 on Mr Smiffy.

"It actually feels more like 20 years since I last won! Burghley is my favourite event to ride at and Avebury is a joy to ride."

Fellow Kiwis Jonathan Paget and Clifton Lush finished fifth, Mark Todd and Major Milestone came 12th, Nicholson and Calico Joe placed 13th, Caroline Powell and Boston Two Tip finished 14th, and Lucy Jackson, in her first Burghley start, was 19th with Willy Do.

Nicholson gets £55,000 (NZ$108,600) for the win, as well as another $US75,000 ($NZ93,341) as the runner-up in the HSBC Classics Series. His win was not quite enough to get him ahead of William Fox-Pitt, finishing one point back to come second overall.