24 Apr 2014

Nicholson eyes riding's grand slam

12:34 pm on 24 April 2014

New Zealand's Andrew Nicholson is eyeing an elusive equestrian grand slam after being handed the Burghley title that has officially been stripped from compatriot Jock Paget.

Paget's title winning horse Clifton Promise tested positive to a banned substance at Burghley last September and equestrian's world governing body the FEI rescinded the New Zealander's title after issuing a partial decision in the doping case.

Andrew Nicholson.

Andrew Nicholson. Photo: AFP

Nicholson's mount Avebury is now the first horse to win Burghley twice after also claiming the 2012 title.

And Nicholson is the world's number one eventer and will this weekend attempt to defend his Kentucky title, the second jewel in the grand slam crown.

If he beats a previous winner there, William Fox-Pitt, and the other riders, the 52-year-old will then head to Badminton in England.

The New Zealand Olympian will the stand on the cusp of becoming only the second person to win the Grand Slam of Eventing - with a pay cheque of more than $400,000 - but that's only if he can take out Badminton.

Nicholson has taken his 2013 winning ride at Kentucky, Quimbo to Badminton and has instead entered Avebury - one of the most talented and popular horses on the circuit - in the 2014 Kentucky event.

The full hearing of Paget's case is scheduled for 3 June, after which a final decision will be issued by the FEI.