Marlborough based Andrew Nicholson proved successful at the 2009 Bramham International Horse Trials, a hugely popular annual event held at Bramham Park in West Yorkshire, winning the CCI*** title for the second time in three years.

The New Zealand Olympian, one of the sport’s all time greats who has been based in Britain since the 1980’s, was lying fifth after dressage on Deborah Sellar’s hugely promising Spanish bred horse Nereo.

They then faced the testing cross-country course, designed by Sue Benson, who will be creating the 2012 Olympic course. It was felt to be a little more straightforward than in the past although there was a testing three part combination early on at fence six and a tricky final water complex, Dickinson Dees Lower Pond, towards the end of the course.

Bramham’s hilly setting always means the time is tight and the course, held this year on the ground formerly used for the now defunct steeplechase phase, did cause its fair share of problems in the end.

Andrew cruised home clear and inside the time on Nereo however, to move into third, although his second ride The Light Fandango, who has been lying fourth after dressage, dropped down the order with a stop at the second water.

Riders then faced the tense final show jumping phase, where just five penalties separated the top five.

Andrew and Nereo jumped a great clear to put the pressure on the riders above him and, when Pippa Funnell had one fence down and Nicola Wilson picked up a costly three time penalties, victory was his.

"This horse is the best jumper I've ever sat on," said a delighted Andrew. “I had to ride him tactically in the show jumping as he was un-nerved by the applause from an earlier clear round but he is careful and will jump from whatever stride I put him on."

He also admitted ‘its horses like this’ and the anticipation of the Olympics being in Britain which drive him, coming up to the age of 48, to keep eventing.

Andrew was also leading the CIC*** (international one day event), held for the first time at Bramham, after dressage and cross-country on Epic. Two down in the final show jumping phase let his nearest rival, Purton based fellow Kiwi Neil Spratt, take the title on the grey Upleadon.

Neil had been hot on Andrew’s heels from the dressage=2 0phase, where he lay second just over two marks in arrears, and he added just 0.8 of a cross country time penalty to that score.

“I was very pleased with Upleadon – he is relateively new at this level but didn’t put a foot wrong all week,” said Neil. “It was a good cross country course and, although there were some mutterings that it was a bit too easy, I felt they’d got it just right. The terrain is deceptive at Bramham and can knock a horse out of his rhythm.”

He took over Upleadon, an 11 year old he owns with Annitta Engel and Sharon Robbins, in 2008 and this was his first major international win.

The pair had been enjoying a great run of form on the lead up to Bramham, with thirds in Advanced one day events at Belton Park and Brigstock, and will now aim for the CIC*** at Barbury Castle next month.

Neil was also 14th in the CCI*** on Hugo’s There III, a ride he took on last year when a previous rider was having some problems with him, and 12 show jumping penalties cost him a top 8 finish.

West Littleton’s Harry Meade was 4th in the CIC*** on Danauger, owned and previously ridden by Tracy Garside, with seven show jumping penalties costing this duo a possible second place.

The final show jumping phase was also to prove expensive for Foxham’s Georgie Spence, who was competing in the British Under 25 Cha mpionship at Bramham.

She was lying second after a great cross country round on Christopher Jenkin’s 10 year old mare Skylight, who she took over last year from French rider Leonard Goerens.

Unluckily three show jumps fell on the final day to drop the pair to a still creditable fifth place and put them in with a good chance of making the GB team at this year’s Young Riders European 3 day event Championships, due to be staged in Belgium in September.

----------------------------------------- Knapp Farm recently staged their first show jumping competition to be held on grass this season, where the rain held off to the very end of a busy day at The Leigh venue.

The opening 1’ 6” class saw Georgie Horgan on Mountain Victor win convincingly with a double clear and a time of 28.88 seconds, beating Jordan Hobbs by nearly 8 seconds. Rose Dawson and Celtic Goddess produced one of the fastest times of the day – 22.96 seconds – to win the 2’ class, with Jade Kirby and her new pony Caraid in second.

The 2’ 3” UK Chasers and Riders qualifier saw Danielle McCormack and Alfie zoom around to win by just under a second, with Leah Knowles and Beau second, and Emily Mitchell and her new pony Ozzie third. Both Danielle and Emily continued their good form to take th e first two spots in the following 2’ 6” UK Riders class.

The 2’ 9” qualifier saw a win for Ellie Hoursoglou on another new pony, Sapphire, with runners-up Laura Smith and Indie Rose taking a fall in the jump off, after gaining one of only two first round clears.

Louis Raymont and his horse Felix had picked up a third and a fourth during the day but saved their best to last, winning the 3’ class with the only double clear.

Next date is dressage and show jumping on June 27th, which will feature second round UK Chasers and Riders qualifiers. For Knapp Farm’s clinic and show schedule visit Results : 1’ 6” : 1)Georgie Horgan, Mountain Victor 2)Jordan Hobbs, Tara 3)Kirsty Poulton, Millie 4)Britney Burnes, Burt 5)Donna Turner, Charlie 6)Grace Brown, Ziggy 1’ 9” : 1)Rose Dawson, Celtic Goddess 2)Jade Kirby, Caraid 3)Charlie 4)Ziggy 5)Leah Knowles, Beau 6)Maddie Moxley, Fancy Grey 2’ 3” UK Riders and Chasers : 1)Danielle McCormack, Alfie 2)Beau 3)Emily Smith, Ozzie 4)Jacob Hazel, Dougal 5)Caraid 6)Tracey Daville, Rosco 2’ 6” UK Riders and Chasers : 1)Alfie 2)Ozzie 3)David Swift, Fabby 4)Louis Raymont, Felix 5)Matthew Vater, Mylau 6)Millie Hackeborn, Free Swallow 2’ 9” UK Riders and Chasers : 1)Ellie Hoursoglou, Sapphire 2)Laura Smith, Indie20Rose 3)Felix 4)Nicole Roberts, Simply Samantha 5)= Lucy Rosers, Charlie & Lydia Rogers, Tarka 3’ : 1)Felix 2)Laura Austen, Ruby 3)Sapphire 4)Tarka 5)Charlie ----------------------------------------- Ridgeway Pony Club ran a popular ‘have a go dressage’ competition at Rabson Manor, Winterbourne Bassett, designed to encourage riders into this discipline.

The day saw home club wins for Laura Wall and Mister Ed, who won Class 2 on a healthy 71.5%, and Niamh Rawlins and Pepsi Tronics, who topped the last class of the day on 67.2%. Results : Class One : 1)Millie Moxey, Danny Boy 2)Mollie Freeston, Fairy 3)Katie Hilliard, Smokey 4)Millie Moxey, Fancy Grey Class 2 : 1)Laura Wall, Mister Ed 2) & 3)Rhian Evans, Bertie & Daisy 4)Lynda Harvey, Cinders Class 3 : 1)Gemma Codner, Piha Beach 2)Teri Strange, Karls Black Socks 3)Niamh Rawlins, Pepsi Tronics 4)Helen Pring, Derek Class 4 : 1)Pepsi Tronics 2)Piha Beach 3)Emma Horton, Forest Bay 4)Lydia Rogers, Jasper