ANDREW Nicholson has become somewhat synonymous with the Burghley Horse Trials, writes ANDY BABER.

The first rider to have won a four-star event three years in a row on the same horse, Marlborough-based Nicholson entered the history books at Burghley in 2014 aboard Avebury.

The New Zealander has won the overall crown five times in total – stretching back to his first Burghley title back on Buckley Province in 1995.

And while he is now 57, Nicholson insists this year – despite the less experienced horses under him – he could make it a magnificent six.

“I’ve got quite a big group of horses that are quite new to that four-star level, so the focus this season was to get them up to Burghley and hopefully they can do a good job,” he said.

“They are not hardened four-star campaigners yet, they are not like Avebury for example from previous years, these are ones who haven’t done four-star before.

“It’s going to be a step up for them, but it’s what has been targeted for them all year so I’m comfortable they will be able to deal with the pressure.

“You just have to prepare your horse well beforehand, but you have to have the horse fully fit and prepared, you can’t get there half ready as it’s a big course and very difficult.

“I would very much like to win it again, I have a couple of very good horses and they may be new to that level, but they are very good and if things go the right way then who knows.”

There is little left in the sport of three-day eventing for Nicholson to achieve.

A six-time Olympian and three-time medallist, a world champion all the way back in 1990 and a victor at last year’s Badminton Horse Trials after 36 years of trying – the accolades keep coming.

But it is Burghley that keeps him coming back for more – and the Marlborough-based rider cannot wait to taste the action once more.

“The season has gone alright, everything seems to have been okay and we’re just getting set for Burghley,” he added.

“You can only get the experience going there, you can do all the groundwork, homework and smaller event but you don’t know until you get to that level.

“Burghley is quite a unique place, so you will never know until you get there and try it

“Burghley is a proper country fair type event, they have a big crowd that seems to appreciate the countryside and the horses and the trade stands, it has a really good feel about it.

“It’s a great competition for the competitors and the crowds and it just gets bigger and more popular every year. I always look forward to it.

“Winning it on Avebury three years in a row is my best Burghley memory. To win it once is one thing, but to win it three times on the same horse is something special.”

The multi-award-winning Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials from August 30 – September 2 has been established as a major international equestrian and social event in the Autumn Sporting Calendar for over 50 years. For more information visit