Grant Nicholson experienced first-hand the force of this week's massive earthquake.

The Opaki horseman was on his way home from New Zealand Cup and Show Week when he got the fright of his life.

"We left Christchurch at 7.30 on Sunday evening for the 2 o'clock ferry and the locals told us later that we were the last vehicle to get through," Nicholson said.

"We were about halfway between Kaikoura and Blenheim when it hit - I thought the truck was going to tip over. The road was rolling towards us and the sky in front of us lit up. Apparently, that was the energy released from the earthquake. Everything was rocking and rolling, scary stuff."


Nicholson said his horses came through unscathed and he was more than happy with Nymph Monte's Riccarton performances, despite missing out on his major goal.

The Tavistock five-year-old claimed the double of the Spring Classic and the Metropolitan Trophy Handicap to earn favouritism in last Saturday's Cup. Nymph Monte finished fifth behind Pump Up The Volume with an effort that Nicholson said he was proud of.

"Certainly the rain didn't help and he didn't help himself either. When he jumped he banged into another horse and he over-raced after that, but he pulled up really well.

"If he had dropped out then I wouldn't have bagged the horse, but he fought on well and I thought it was a top effort."

Looking ahead, Nicholson now has the choice between two Ellerslie options for Nymph Monte.

"I'll get him home and then decide, but it will either be the City of Auckland Cup or the Zabeel Classic," he said.

- NZ Racing Desk