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EQUESTRIAN: Water letdown for our county riders
ANDREW Nicholson may hold the record for the most Badminton completions but his bid for a 32nd will have to wait.
The Marlborough-based New Zealander, 50, was due to ride Mr Cruise Control and Avebury at this week’s prestigious four-star event before the waterlogged trials were cancelled on Monday.
“It’s a shame because you get your horses ready to go out there but there isn’t really much you can do about the weather,” said the two-time Olympic medallist.
“It’s just the way it is and you’ve got to try and find other things to do now.
“Mr Cruise Control will go to Luhmühlen because that’s another four-star event but that’s not until the middle of June (14-17).
“Avebury is likely to be my reserve for the Olympics but if that doesn’t happen, he’ll probably go to Burghley (in August).
“There’s Chatsworth in just over a week’s time but that one might not escape the rain.”
Great Britain Olympic hopeful Laura Collett, who is based at the Membury Estate, was also disappointed to miss out on the chance to impress at Badminton and said: “I’m really gutted.
“It’s the world’s biggest event and it must be a real shame for the organisers, the grooms and everyone who helped get ready for it but at the end of the day, safety has to come first. That’s the most important thing.
“We’re going to have to find somewhere else to go next now but that doesn’t necessarily mean as soon as possible because it has to be the right event.’’ Little Cheverell-based Australian Clayton Fredericks was quick to change his plans and managed to secure an entry for his top rides Bendigo, Be My Guest and Walterstown Don at this weekend’s Jardy CIC*** in France.
n On Sunday, Nicholson handed an impressive four-star debut to Qwanza in Lexington, Kentucky, with a double-clear cross country round and a flawless showjumping display.
“Qwanza is a horse I've always had an awful lot of faith in,” he said.
“I don't have many mares competing, but she’s very tough and gives me 100 per cent. She has the talent to match her courage – exciting for the future.’’ Another of his up-and-coming horses, ten-year-old Calico Joe, was well placed in tenth after dressage, but retired on the cross country section.
Lucinda Fredericks was second in the CIC*** at the Vairano International in Italy on ten-year-old Flying Fish after achieving one of only five clear showjumping rounds.
“I’m very proud of him – he took it on easily, didn’t make a mistake all week and finished with plenty of energy,” said Fredericks, who will head to Chatsworth next weekend with two rides in the CIC*, A Zarah and Rovello II.
Fredericks also fell at the water on cross country on her CIC** ride Acheron, but was unhurt.
Collett made her presence felt at the Summerhouse Equitation Centre’s BS show jumping near Gloucester.
She scored a hat-trick, starting with a win in the Newcomers on Strides Controe.
Noble Bestman topped the 1.20m Open and Collett was first and second in the 1.30m Open on Allora 3 and Rayef.
Additional reporting by Kate Healey