11 Jun 2012

New Zealand equestrians stake Olympic claims

10:48 am on 11 June 2012

The New Zealand equestrians Andrew Nicholson and Caroline Powell staked clear Olympic claims, with both finishing in the top five at the Bramham International Horse Trials in the United Kingdom overnight.

A double clear by Nicholson and Nereo in the showjumping phase of the CIC3 wasn't quite enough to take victory.

The combination finished on their dressage score of 42 and in second place, just 3.3 penalty points behind victor William Fox-Pitt on Neuf des Coeurs who also won the CCI3 on Chilli Morning.

Powell and Lenamore finished on their dressage score for fourth place, with Nicholson just .8 of a penalty behind on Avebury.

Lucy Jackson and Willy Do were the best performed of the Kiwis in the CCI3 finishing in eighth spot, with Nicholson and Tristar II in 11th.

Dressage in the pouring rain still managed to produce some good scores, although interestingly Nicholson felt Nereo - who scored 42 penalty points - had gone better than Avebury who notched 40.5.

Jackson produced some brilliance aboard Animator II to score 41.4 in their dressage and sit in fifth spot going into the second phase of competition.

Powell and Lenamore in the dressage finished with a score of 45, while defending champ Jonathan Paget and Clifton Lush scored 48.

In the showjumping phase top Kiwi combinations showed their class, with Nicholson and Nereo clear and moving up the board, Powell and Lenamore also clear and an unlucky last rail for Nicholson and Avebury.

The cross country on the final day called for some bold riding with just nine going clear and inside time - Nicholson on Nereo, Powell on Lenamore and Richards on Flintstar included in that illustrious list.

A strong team of Kiwis head to highly-ranked CCI4 at Luhmuhlen in Germany this week, including Nicholson with Mr Cruise Control, Shady Grey and Calico Joe, along with Mark Todd on Major Milestone.