Equestrianism : Nicholson finds key to title

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The Independent Online


reports from Burghley

Andrew Nicholson's long wait for a major victory ended yesterday when he rode Buckley Province to win the Burghley Pedigree Chum Three-Day Event. For good measure, the 34-year-old New Zealander, a valuable member of the Kiwi team since 1984, also finished in fourth place on Cartoon II.

Nicholson's success came after a tense finale in yesterday's show jumping, in which competitors went in the reverse order of merit. Lying second on Buckley Province, he put added pressure on Kristina Gifford (who held the overnight lead on General Jock) by jumping the only clear round that was within the time.

Gifford kept her cool, but the horse is not the most careful of show jumpers; it was sad to see him clobber four fences and drop to sixth place. That left Dag Albert of Sweden as the runner-up on Nice 'n' Easy, with Britain's Justine Ward third on The Bullett.

Ward, 25, had survived one spectacular near-miss at The Trout Hatchery Jetty (the 29th of 35 fences on Saturday's cross-country), where her horse made a mistake and pecked on landing.