Burghley Horse Trials: New Zealander Nicholson takes lead

Andrew Nicholson on Avebury at the Burghley Horse Trials
Kiwi Nicholson is in first place going into the final day at Burghley
Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials
Venue: Burghley Date: 4-7 September
Coverage: Live on BBC Two and the BBC website from 15:00 BST on Sunday

New Zealander Andrew Nicholson leads the Burghley Horse Trials after the cross-country round on Saturday.

Nicholson, on Avebury, was fastest on the day for 5.6 time penalties and could clinch his third title on Sunday.

Current Badminton title holder Sam Griffithsexternal-link is second and Oliver Townend third, while overnight leader Jonathan Paget has dropped to fourth.

"Avebury goes his best when I ride him like I stole him, so that's what I tried to do," said Nicholson.

"For the first three minutes I rode him a bit quieter than I normally would, but as soon as I started putting on a bit more pressure; turning up tight and taking the inside line, he started to really operate and felt like he was loving it."

Nobody managed the 11 minutes 19 second optimum - and Griffiths, on Happy Times, clocked up 9.6 time penalties and is less than a fence behind Nicholson.

"I went quite early so I didn't allude to the fact that no-one was making the time," said Griffiths on the official Burghley website.external-link

Townend had started the day in 12th but impressed on Armada and had the second quickest round of the day.

"We all know Armada and what a wonderful cross-country horse he is," said Townend.

"If you put him in the right place and in the right gear to jump the fences he'll do his best for you."

Nicholson has a score of 46.1 penalties, with Griffiths on 49.8 and Townend 55.1.