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BARBURY HORSE TRIALS DAY TWO: Nicholson storms to top
WILTSHIRE-BASED New Zealand international Andrew Nicholson proved that his performance was worth the wait as he stormed to the top of the CIC3* rankings in the second day of competition at the Barbury Horse Trials.
Nicholson, who is based in nearby Marlborough, was the third-from-last competitor to compete in the dressage phase but he is now the man to beat after finishing top of the pile with 41.6 penalties on Avebury.
Stanton St Quintin’s Kitty King, who also tops the standings in the CIC 2* Section B on Persimmon, was the overnight leader (with 43.6 on Zidante) but she now finds herself down to fourth in the rankings after being leapfrogged by American Boyd Martin (Remington XXV), Kiwi Jonathan Paget (Clifton Lush) and Nicholson.
Little-Cheverell Clayton Fredericks, who is in the Australian team for London 2012, is now sixth in the 3* event on Walterstown Don and says that Barbury is a tough venue for dressage tests.
“It’s nice for the owners for him to be in a good position – he’s a great horse,” said Fredericks.
“There’s another two phases to go and to be honest, dressage has always been his weakest point so hopefully we can do a good job in the rest of the weekend.
“Here is always a difficult place to do a test and you see some of these Olympic horses making mistakes and not being able to concentrate because, in the distance, they can see horses galloping on the cross country.
“They know what’s to come and they get excited thinking that it’s cross country day so you’ve got to keep saying ‘please concentrate because it’s dressage.’.”
Friday also saw the first day of the 4* Olympic Test (Combined Training) event and Australia’s Christopher Burton (Holstein Park Leilani) leads after the dressage with 42.8 penalties.
New Zealand’s Jonathan Paget is second on Clifton Lush (43.1) while Membury’s Laura Collett is tied for third on Rayef with American Allison Springer on Arthur (both on 45).
But rising Great Britain star Collett thinks that Rayef was given a tough break by the 4* judges and said: “It was great to ride in that test and Rayef ran really well but he didn’t get his best mark.
“45 is a little bit disappointing – one judge scored really high and the other really low.
“This isn’t his big competition so it doesn’t really matter and I’d rather that happened here than anywhere else. He’s a really good dressage horse and it was good to have a run through.”
Collett was also celebrating a double-success after winning two novice classes.
She won Section F on Brookfield Cult King, finishing with 23.5 penalties, and also Seciton G with Longbarn Maisie (24 pens).
Tom McEwen, from Hodson, had a scare in the Novice Section E early this morning as he suffered a fall on Benz but the Wiltshire rider went on to compete in the CIC 3* on Diesel.
Great Britain veteran Pippa Funnell leads the 2* Section C on Billy Beware (36.1 pens) while American Julian Stiller is top of the pile in Section D with Enjoy Me.
MORE UPDATES FROM BARBURY THIS WEEKEND ON GAZETTEANDHERALD.CO.UK AND ON TWITTER @gazsport