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Nicholson bounces back to best

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 12/06/2016

Less than a year after suffering a serious neck injury, New Zealand rider Andrew Nicholson has won the Bramham International Horse Trials in Yorkshire.

Third after the cross-country, Nicholson and nine-year-old Jet Set IV dropped a fence in the final showjumping phase of the three-star event.

But overnight leader Oliver Townend (Britain) and second-placed Australian Sammi Birch both incurred more faults for Nicholson to sneak through for the win.

The six-time Olympian looks to be returning to his best after falling heavily during the cross-country phase of a three-star event in Gatcombe in August.

He came close to paralysis, requiring an eight-hour operation to repair fractures and stabilise his spine.

Concerns over his fitness prompted Nicholson to withdraw from last month's Badminton horse trials.

It's the third time the 54-year-old Kiwi has won at Bramham, after taking victory in 2006 on Henry Tankerville and three years later aboard Nereo.

Nicholson said the showjumping track at Bramham had been challenging.

"I thought the course was big when I walked it, but I didn't want to say anything in case people thought I'd lost my touch," he told equestrian website

Townend finished third while fellow Brit Lauren Shannon eased up from fourth to second after bringing down just the one fence.

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