Equestrianism: Child's play for Touzaint as Toytown and Phillips blunder

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The Independent Online

Zara Phillips relinquished her European title in dramatic style here yesterday in the final showjumping phase of the European Three-Day Event Championships when Toytown collected 19 faults over the last four fences. The Frenchman Nicolas Touzaint, in the lead overnight on Galan de Sauvagere after completing the only cross-country round within the time, then produced a foot-perfect display to regain the title he won in 2003.

Touzaint defeated Britain's Mary King, who rose from fourth to collect the silver medal on Call Again Cavalier, with Germany's Bettina Hoy taking the bronze on Springwood Cockatoo. King, 46, had won individual bronze here 12 years ago when she was five months pregnant.

Phillips, who dropped from second to sixth place, did secure a team gold medal and she gained her Olympic qualification for next year's Games in Beijing – but her round was nevertheless a huge disappointment. She had been clear until arriving half a stride out at the ninth fence, where Toytown came to a halt among scattering poles. In all she collected 12 jumping and seven time penalties.

There was never any doubt that Great Britain would take the team title for the seventh consecutive time. The best three British team riders – King, Phillips and Daisy Dick, who was seventh – finished with no less than 66.9 penalties in hand over France, with Italy in third place. The French would, however, have triumphed had they picked the right team riders since they could not count the scores of their two individuals – the 2002 world champion Jean Teulère and Cedric Lyard – who finished fourth and fifth.