Zara Phillips could be bound for Olympic Games
ZARA Phillips should find out in the next couple of days whether or not she has done enough to win a place at this year’s Olympic Games in London.
The daughter of Princess Anne is eyeing a place in Great Britain’s eventing team and British selectors held their final deliberations yesterday following Phillips’ third-place finish in the Equi-Trek Bramham International CIC three-star class.
There she recorded a personal best dressage score of 43.2 penalties on High Kingdom before jumping clear showjumping and cross-country rounds.
Only two competitors finished above Phillips, world number one William Fox-Pitt and New Zealander Andrew Nicholson.
Phillips failed to make the previous two Olympics as a result of injuries top former top horse Toytown but her timely run of form will have alerted selectors Ian Stark, Mandy Stibbe and Angela Tucker.
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Fellow London contenders Nicola Wilson, Tina Cook, Laura Collett and Lucy Wiegersma, also performed strongly.
Fox-Pitt, Wilson, Mary King and Piggy French are widely expected to be picked for London, but the fifth is up for grabs and Phillips, 31, is a contender.
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“He (High Kingdom) has improved loads this year, and it has been great to have had the opportunity to really show to everyone what he can do,” said Phillips, the Queen’s grand-daughter.
“He is constantly improving and we are fighting for our spot.
“Competition is so strong that it is probably tougher for the selectors than anyone else. Everybody wants to be at the Olympics, and I am no exception.
“He had a double clear inside the time and a personal best dressage. Hopefully, they will see that he has improved and might get even better.
“It was probably good to have a bit of pressure on here and to see if we could come up with the goods.”
Great Britain team manager Yogi Breisner described himself as “very pleased” with Phillips’ performance.
“Experience from a riders’ point of view is very much key, and there are riders that are in form, performing well,” he said.
“From a horse’s point of view, traditionally in Olympic Games, inexperienced horses have often done well, but they still need to be horses of the right calibre in the right sort of form.
“You can’t just select on one result and one competition, you have to look at the overall picture and look at what the horses have done in the past.”