We have arrived at our final #ERHOTY17 nominee, and if four-star results matter the most to you, then we saved the best for last. Nereo’s win at Badminton is the highest rated four-star performance we have seen outside of a championships in the last decade. The fact that he took the win at 17 years old, and gave Andrew Nicholson his first Badminton win on his 37th completion at the storied event, only makes the story that much sweeter. If you are looking for a sentimental pick when you cast your vote, plus a horse that took one of the year’s biggest wins in 2017, Nereo is the clear choice. We know already that our friend Annabel Scrimgeour will agree.
He only ran three times at international level in 2017, which isn’t unusual for him. Aside from Nereo’s very first international season back in 2007 when he ran five times, he has never had more than four runs in a season. He started his 2017 season with a bang at Badminton. A dressage score of 38.0 placed Nereo equal fifth after the first phase, and he rose to 3rd place after cross country with 3.2 time penalties added. With both Ingrid Klimke and Horseware Hale Bob and Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam FBW ahead of him on the leaderboard, it seemed impossible that both of the German team stalwarts would falter to give Nereo a shot at the win.
But it’s never over until it’s over! Neither Ingrid nor Michael could afford a rail in show jumping to stay ahead of Andrew, and Nereo hadn’t jumped a clear round on the final day of a CCI4* since he won Pau in 2012. But he left all the poles in the cups, adding just 1 time penalty, to put the pressure on. Then Michael and Sam dropped a rail to move Nereo up to 2nd, and the unthinkable happened when the wheels fell of the bus for Ingrid to result in 23 penalties added for the overnight leader. Nereo moved up from 3rd to win Badminton on a final score of 41.4.
Then it was on to Barbury to defend his win in the Event Rider Masters. While Nereo delivered a career personal best of 34.9 in the dressage, he had to settle for second place behind Tom Carlile and Upsilon’s record performance of 30.8. A clear show jumping round with 1 time penalty for Nereo kept them in 2nd place, and that’s ultimately where he finished on 41.5 with an additional 5.6 time penalties added on cross country.
Nereo concluded his 2017 international season at Burghley. A 39.5 in dressage placed him 4th after the first phase. After a crashing fall with Qwanza early in the day, there was speculation as to whether Andrew would even go cross country on Nereo. Andrew did ultimately set out of the start box, though at a slower place to pick up 7.6 penalties, which still moved Nereo up two spots on the leaderboard to 6th. Two rails down in the show jumping save Nereo finish 8th at Burghley on 57.1.
Nereo’s 2017 season saw him finish in the top 10 in all three of his international runs. His 2017 dressage average of 37.5 is the third best of our 12 #ERHOTY17 nominees. Nereo concluded his 2017 season with a 100% clear cross country rate and is one of four nominees that completed two four-stars in 2017. He is also the oldest in the group at 17. Will Nereo have your vote when the polls open? Stay tuned to our Facebook page for head-2-head voting starting today!
“I’ve had Nereo since he was four years old and he’s always been one of my favourites. He’s had to work very hard, the dressage hasn’t been natural for him. Galloping across country, he’s a lovely galloper and tries 100 percent every single time. I can bring him out year after year and when I was recovering from my neck injury he and Avebury were the main reasons I had a go at riding again.”
Listen to the #ERHOTY17 episode of the Horseware Eventing Podcast to hear how we finalized the list of 12 nominees. Keep checking back to the EquiRatings blog for analysis articles on all 12: fischerRocana FST, Nereo, Arctic Soul, Horseware Hale Bob, Ballaghmor Class, Bulana, Hunter Valley II, Donner, Cekatinka, Calle 44, Ivar Gooden and Foxwood High.