Equestrian: Andrew Nicholson made the trip to the Pau CCI in France, the last four star three day event in the 2008 calendar, a worthwhile one.

The event was won by Gloucestershire based German star Bettina Hoy, who was delighted to have her top ride Ringwood Cockatoo, who missed a place at this year’s Olympics due to injury, back in top form.

Marlborough rider Nicholson, sixth at Pau in 2007 on Ginger May Killinghurst, went that bit better this time on the 12-year-old Henry Tankerville. The duo claimed fourth spot, moving up from 12th after the opening dressage phase. They produced one of the best cross country rounds of the day over a daunting course, coming home clear with just 2.8 time penalties.

The course accounted for some top names with Pippa Funnell, Oliver Townend and Clayton Fredericks among those failing to complete and sadly Zara Phillips’ horse Tsunami had to be put down following a fall, that left his rider with a broken collarbone.

“The course was a proper four star – very technical and full on from start to finish,” said Nicholson, who is originally from New Zealand.

“People go thinking it will be okay and not as tough as some four stars but it’s very strong, and is no soft option. “I was pleased with Henry Tankerville’s dressage test and he was good cross country – he’s not a flying machine but he tries his very best.”

Nicholson was out of luck on his second ride Muschamp Imapla, however. The pair had been lying eighth after cross country but the horse failed the final vet inspection and was unable to take part in the show jumping phase.

Clayton and Lucinda Fredericks, the Little Cheverell husband and wife duo who won team silver for Australian at this year’s Olympics, were also out of luck. Lucinda suffered a dramatic fall at fence four cross country in the CIC two star and had to be sent to hospital to have the damage inflicted by her horse Jiggalong’s studs stitched up.

Clayton went out at Fence 13 cross country in the CCI four star, when his horse The Frog fell, but gained some consolation in the CIC two star.

He finished fourth on Alice and Tim Page’s mare Dunges Laurent Rose, who pulled up from 18th after dressage after completing on that opening score.