MARLBOROUGH’S Andrew Nicholson clinched his third Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials title on horse Avebury at the weekend.

New Zealander Nicholson, 51, who helped his country to team bronze at the London 2012 Olympics, landed the £50,000 top prize, but was denied another £95,000 as Britain’s William Fox-Pitt finished third to claim the HSBS Classics crown, which rewards eventing's most successful rider over a 12-month period.

World number one Nicholson, who also won this summer's Barbury Horse Trials, last won Burghley 12 years ago, but said: “It actually feels more like 20 years since I last won. Is it really only 12?

“Burghley is my favourite event to ride at and Avebury is a joy to ride.

“There have been days when he has let me down and days when perhaps I’ve let him down, but overall he is a lovely consistent horse.

“I came here expecting to go well. He's been on good form all year so I knew we had a good chance. I am not surprised, but I am highly delighted."

Nicholson finished one point behind Fox-Pitt in the Classics standings, but was more than happy with his weekend’s work as American rider Sinead Halpin blew the chance of her first four-star title on a dramatic final showjumping phase having led for the first three days. after producing brilliant dressage and cross-country displays.

Last to go, Halpin even had two fences in hand, but 12 faults on Manoir de Carneville - including a penultimate fence knockdown – meant Nicholson and Avebury triumphed, with Halpin second and Fox-Pitt third.