Barbury hat trick for Nicholson and Avebury

      Andrew Nicholson and Avebury on their win to a third consecutive win


Avebury may be Andrew Nicholson’s back up horse for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in August but Rosemary and Mark Barlow’s grey gelding certainly showed he is on form by winning the 10th St James’s Place Wealth Management Barbury International Horse Trials this weekend. This makes it their third consecutive title at their local event and they did it with ease. Leading from the start with a personal best score for Avebury of 34.8, they show jumped clear and then handled the pressure of jumping the cross country in reverse order on the Sunday. Andrew opted for the long route at the main water complex, adding 4.8 time penalties to his score but it was a wise decision

“It was quite a tricky fence, that narrow fence on an uphill slope, and I thought I would just give him a breather there,” said 52-year-old Nicholson. “But he felt pretty good. He’s a horse that seems to like going back to certain places. He was squealing and shying and jumping extravagantly in the warm-up”


       Francis Whittington and Easy Target


Clark Montgomery, second after dressage and show jumping, opted not to start Loughlan Glen, who is currently aimed at Aachen for the US Nations Cup team and third placed Sir Mark Todd and Leonidas II picked up 11.2 time penalties to move them down to ninth. Britain’s Francis Whittington, who led after the first day of dressage on Catherine Witt’s grey Easy Target, made up for their four faults in the show jumping phase by adding only 1.6 time penalties on cross country to put them back up the leader board and into second place.

Francis opted to retire Easy Target during the very testing cross country phase at Badminton but, after a little break, the horse has certainly come back strongly with a win at Salperton and a very good performance here



Only two combinations completed the track without jumping or time penalties; Paul Tapner riding Yogi Bear VIII (above) and Beanie Sturgis on Lebowski. Despite his size, the 17hh Yogi Bear is very fast and Paul calls him his ‘one day specialist’, having consistently placed at CIC events in the past few years – this weekend he finished in third place, having steadily moved up from 20th after dressage. Beanie’s clear cross country also had a big impact on her final position, moving her and Lebowski, an ex-polo playing thoroughbred she found in Australia, up from 71st to 17th – a nice change of figures!


       Tina Cook and De Novo News


1.6 time penalties for Pippa Funnell, who had been in equal placings with Paul throughout the event, meant that she and Second Supreme finished in fourth place while her British team mate for WEG, Tina Cook on De Novo News took fifth place and Louise Harwood on Whitsun was sixth. 10 combinations were eliminated and seven retired on Capt. Mark Phillips’ cross country course, sadly one of these was Warren Lamperd’s Silvia who had a fall, seemingly between fences, but both horse and rider are fine.


Warren Lamperd's Silvia walks home(above)  while Sam Griffiths and Favorit Z added time penalties on cross country to finish in 36th place (below)


Before the CIC3* cross country started Paul Tapner had a win under his belt with the Retraining of Racehorses Championship riding Inishmor.  Following Friday’s first round, the pair had a jumping fence in hand and they needed it but still finished clear of the British dressage team’s performance manager Richard Waygood on Luther ll to win the £2,000 first prize. Inishmor’s racing career was somewhat undistinguished, but the 10-year-old grey gelding by Great Palm came to Paul from Grace Muir’s HEROS racehorse rehabilitation centre and is now competing successfully at intermediate level in eventing.

As with various racehorse retirement programmes around the world, the Retraining of Racehorses series, run by the British charity of the same name, is gaining in popularity in eventing circles where thoroughbreds shine in the sport. This year one of the star entries was Oliver Townend’s World Equestrian Games nominated ride Black Tie ll.



But the big star this weekend was definitely Andrew Nicholson who now seems to have set his sights on a hat trick at Burghley for Avebury, saying

“To win here three times in a row on a horse that was born round here and is named after a local landmark feels pretty good. Bring on Burghley!”

View our full Sunday photo gallery here

Emily King finished seventh on Brookleigh and won the Horse Trials Support Group prize of £500 as the best British under-25 rider


Happy boys at the prize giving - Paul Tapner (above) and Francis Whittington (below)