Thirty three years after his first attempt at the title, Andrew Nicholson fulfilled a career goal to win the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.
Going into the show jumping in third position, Andrew kept his cool and pulled off the round of his life riding Deborah Sellar’s 17-year-old gelding Nereo. With just 1.0 time penalty to add, Andrew finished on 41.4.
“Nereo is a truly amazing horse. The amount of big events he’s done year after year is unbelievable,” said Andrew. “I always thought I would win Badminton, and I’ve just had to keep on coming here and taking my turn. It’s been worth the wait. I’ve won big events before but this just feels so different.”
With two very classy German riders left to jump after Andrew – Michael Jung in second position and Ingrid Kilmke in first – the results board looked set to remain, so it was a huge shock when Michael’s Olympic and European gold medal-winning La Biosthetique-Sam FBW hit a rail to drop a place. Ingrid Klimke then had a round to forget, with rails down, a refusal and time penalties, plummeting Horseware Hale Bob OLD down to 9th place.
Michael admitted to feeling disappointed but did point out that the error was his, not Sam’s. “It’s been a great week. Sam feels so strong and happy that even though he is now 17 years old, right now I think he has more competitions in him.”
This moved fellow New Zealanders Tim Price into third with Xavier Faer, and Mark Todd and NZB Campino into fourth.
“I was expecting him to jump well if I could just manage him,” said Tim. “It’s all about making sure nothing happens that he’ll have an adverse reaction to. He’s proved a lot to me and a lot to all of us. He’s going to be a cool horse and we’re looking forward to his future.”
Rosalind Canter pulled off a superb double clear to finish fifth and best of the Brits riding Allstar B. “It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever done,” said Ros. “The horse is a good jumper which sometimes puts even more pressure on because he deserves to jump a clear round, so it was up to me to put him in the right place, and it’s a relief that it came off.”
Butler Bowl ~ for the best British rider: Rosalind Canter
Laurence Rook Trophy ~ best British rider not previously completed Badminton: Rosalind Canter
Worshipful Company of Saddlers saddle ~ Rider with the best score who is under 25 on 1/1/18 and who has not previously won a Company saddle in the calendar year:Imogen Murray
Silver Jubilee Plate ~ best Owner/Rider: Yoshiaki Oiwa
Glentrool Trophy ~ Horse & Rider who have made greatest improvement on their dressage placing: Joseph Murphy & Sportsfield Othello
Frank Weldon Memorial Trophy ~ Rider of youngest British owned and ridden horse in top 12: Kristina Cook & Billy The Red
Cotswold Life Trophy ~ Local Rider’s Trophy: Tom McEwan
The William Miflin Memorial Trophy ~ To the rider of the horse with no cross-country jumping penalties and closest optimum time: Tim Price & Xavier Faer
Sport Horse Breeding of Great Britain ~ Owner of the best horse sired by a SHB (GB) Graded Stallion or Premium Stallion, provided it is in top 12: Xavier Fear sire Catherston Liberator
Retraining of Racehorses £1000 ~ The highest placed former racehorse which must have been raced under the rules of a recognised racing authority worldwide: Arctic Soul
Farriers Prize ~ plaque to the owner and farrier of the best shod horse: Arctic Soul & The Soul Syndictae, farrier Jimmy Cooper from East Sussex
Stud Voucher £500 ~ owner of the highest placed British owned mare: Qwanza, owned by Mark & Rosemary Barlow & Andrew Nicholson
Mark Holliday Memorial Trophy ~ Groom of winner: Johanna Ward, groom of Andrew Nicolson’s Nereo
Armada Dishes: Izzy Taylor Blyth Tait (NZL), Bettina Hoy (GER), Joseph Murphy (IRL) and Louise Harwood.
Embryo Transfer ~ Highest placed British bred or domiciled mare to be in top 20%: Qwanza
Breeder of winner: Nereo, Mr Ramon Beca
Photographs courtesy of Phil J Photography