Equestrianism: Funnell out of World Games as Primmore's Pride picks up training injury

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The Independent Online

Pippa Funnell will be forced to miss the major international three-day event of the year for the first time since 1998, having withdrawn from the squad for August's World Equestrian Games in Germany because Primmore's Pride has suffered a setback in training.

The big bay gelding, with whom Funnell won team silver and individual bronze Olympic medals at Athens in 2004 and was triumphant at Badminton the following spring, seemed to have recovered from last year's injury when he completed an event at Salperton Park in Gloucestershire over the weekend. But a scan on Monday was less hopeful than expected, hence the withdrawal.

Funnell has a haul of seven medals at major championships, among them two team and two individual golds at consecutive European Championships in 1999 and 2001. She also won the Rolex Grand Slam in 2003 with successive victories at Lexington, Badminton and Burghley. Her wealth of experience will be missed.

Sharon Hunt, 28, will take Funnell's place on the squad having impressed the selectors when finishing sixth at Badminton on the 12-year-old Tankers Town. She has ridden the small gelding for eight years and has resisted many tempting offers from those wishing to buy him. A place on the World Games squad seems a just reward.

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