BARBURY HORSE TRIALS: Reigning champion Nicholson keeps his focus

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Andrew Nicholson, pictured riding Nereo at Badminton earlier this year (Picture: Steve Parsons?PA Wire) Andrew Nicholson, pictured riding Nereo at Badminton earlier this year (Picture: Steve Parsons?PA Wire)

BARBURY king Andrew Nicholson chases a show-stopping hat-trick of trials titles later this week but the Marlborough-based star is keeping his feet on the ground.

The world number two, 52, won the top three-star prize as he finished a mammoth 10.2 penalties ahead of second place with Avebury last year and in 2012, Nicholson was top of the pile again with the same horse as he clinched a one-two finish with Quimbo.

Nicholson will team up with Avebury again for the three-star section A1 this week, with the Wiltshire ace also due to run eight other rides across a multitude of categories.

And the New Zealander, who has represented his country at the Olympic Games six times, is remaining relaxed ahead of his latest bid to dominate his local event.

“I'd be surprised if anyone has ever won it three times in a row – it's not the kind of thing that happens in this sport, so I won't be thinking about that,” said Nicholson, who topped the field in three intermediate sections at Salperton earlier this month.

“I'm just concentrating on trying to be as competitive as possible.

“I took Avebury to Salperton as preparation (the pair finished seventh in the advanced intermediate class). We weren't going there to win but he still went very well, so hopefully that bodes well for Barbury.

“I've got a lot of rides and I think that there are a few that could do well in the other classes, like Tilikum, Ulises and Urma BK.

“Barbury is a fantastic place to compete. It's a nice setting and it's an event that I always enjoy because it's nearby.

“The owners love it and I think that the ground should be good after the bit of rain that we've had recently.”

UPDATES FROM THE BARBURY HORSE TRIALS ACROSS THE WEEK ON GAZETTEANDHERALD.CO.UK/SPORT AND MORE PREVIEWS IN THIS THURSDAY'S GAZETTE & HERALD. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @gazsport

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