CIC 3 Star Competition

New Zealand eventer Andrew Nicholson and his wonderful grey horse Avebury are set up to deliver a record fourth consecutive victory in the showpiece three-star class (CIC3*) at Barbury International Horse Trials, sponsored by St James’s Place Wealth Management.

The Marlborough-based pair maintained their lead after dressage with a beautiful clear show jumping round and now have a 3.4penalty lead over Cheshire-based Chinese rider Alex Hua Tian, 25, on Don Geniro, a first-timer at this level, going into Sunday’s cross-country phase.

Andrew, who has a total of seven rides this weekend, is also lying third on Avebury’s stablemate Nereo, the horse on which he has won world and Olympic medals.

Andrew’s long-time New Zealand team mate Sir Mark Todd, who is also based locally to Barbury, at Bishopstone, is in fourth place on Leonidas ll.

Sarah Bullimore is the best-placed British rider, in fifth place on Lilly Corinne. The last British rider to win Barbury’s feature class was Pippa Funnell in 2011 on Billy Landretti.

The 15-year-old Avebury, owned by Mark and Rosemary Barlow, has a fence named in his honour this year, as well as the hospitality marquee. Named after the local ancient earthworks, he is something of a character and is known to be fond of competing at Barbury, his most local event.

“He definitely knows where he is,” said Andrew, who has also won Burghley a record three times on the grey gelding that he bred himself.

“When I got on him yesterday to ride down to the dressage, he was very quiet, but when I got on him today, he squealed because he knew he was going to jump. Let’s hope he remembers what he has to do across country tomorrow!”

The cross-country phase, which loops around the natural amphitheatre on Nigel Bunter’s estate, is run in reverse order of merit, bringing the weekend to a thrilling conclusion as horses and riders fly around Mark Phillips’s always testing track. A thrilling contest is assured.

Tickets start from £20/pp on the gate. Children under 12 years are welcome and come in free.

For information or call 01672 516125.

For full results:

Photo Courtesy Katy Vincent

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