ANDREW NICHOLSON and Avebury are on track for a third successive victory in the showpiece three-star class at the St James’s Place Wealth Management Barbury International Horse Trials.

The leading New Zealand rider and world No.2 in eventing, who lives just down the road at Lockeridge, leads CIC*** Section A after adding a faultless showjumping round to his impressive dressage score of 34.8.

Home-bred Avebury, who is named after the local Roman earthworks, has a particular fondness for the amphitheatre of Barbury where he produced the best dressage test of his career.

Andrew has 4.8 penalties in hand over American rider Clark Montgomery, who is based near Malmesbury. Clark also jumped clear on the Irish-bred Loughan Glen.

Andrew’s longstanding team-mate Sir Mark Todd, who also lives near Barbury at Bishopstone, is lying in third place on the German-bred Leonidas ll, his ride at next month’s World Equestrian Games (WEG) in France.

Kristina Cook and her home-bred bay gelding De Novo News, who will be representing Great Britain at the WEG, are in fourth place.

“I’m really excited to have produced another horse to this level,” said Tina.

"I didn’t start eventing this horse until he was six and he’s done a lot in a short space of time. He isn’t the finished article yet but I think he’s ready for this step up.”

The CIC*** cross-country starts at 1.30pm today (Sunday) and the highest-placed riders will be going in reverse order of merit to create a thrilling climax.

DAVID DOEL, one of Britain’s brightest young prospects, scored his first 'grown-up' two-star victory at Barbury on Miss Caruso.

The 21-year-old from Laycock in Wiltshire, led from the start in CCI** Section B, narrowly beating two veteran New Zealanders, Andrew Nicholson on Jet Set lV and former Olympic champion Blyth Tait riding Bear Necessity V.

David has successfully represented Britain in Junior and Young Rider teams but he is facing a race against time to get Miss Caruso qualified for this year’s Young Rider European Championships in Portugal in September. His preparation was thwarted by a broken collarbone at Houghton Hall last month.

WORLD No.1 event rider William Fox-Pitt showed he has yet another promising horse in the making in Top Biats, winner of CIC** Section C at Barbury.