Zara Phillips hoping it's third time lucky after being selected for Olympics


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The Independent Online

Zara Phillips hopes it can be a case of third time lucky after being selected for her Olympics debut.

Phillips, the Queen's granddaughter, has been chosen alongside William Fox-Pitt, Mary King, Piggy French and Tina Cook in the London 2012 Great Britain eventing team.

She would have been at the 2004 and 2008 Games, but injuries to her world title-winning horse Toytown dashed those hopes.

Phillips, 31, has been picked for London on High Kingdom, and she said: "It's awesome to be given this opportunity.

"I am really excited and can't wait to kick on and get him there. Hopefully, we will make it this time.

"High Kingdom is a pretty cool, very relaxed kind of guy.

"He is improving all the time. He's pretty pony-like, a nippy little jumper and easy to manoeuvre, so hopefully it will suit him well in Greenwich."

Phillips will emulate her mother, the Princess Royal, who competed at the 1976 Montreal Games, while her father Captain Mark Phillips was a team gold medallist at Munich in 1972 and then won silver in Seoul 16 years later.

World number one Fox-Pitt will ride Lionheart, King will be aboard Imperial Cavalier and Cook with her 2008 double bronze-medal winning horse Miners Frolic.

French, who like Phillips is set for her Olympic debut, will either ride Jakata or DHI Topper, winner of last summer's London Test event.

But while Phillips has gained selection, there is disappointment for the likes of Nicola Wilson, who has helped Britain win world and European team gold medals in the last three years on her brilliant cross-country exponent Opposition Buzz, Sarah Cohen and Lucy Wiegersma.

It will be 51-year-old King's sixth successive Olympics, meanwhile, emulating the feat of British javelin thrower Tessa Sanderson, with Fox-Pitt competing in his fourth and Cook her second.

Cook saw Miners Frolic suffer a life-threatening illness last year but she has gradually nurtured him back into competition this season, and they jumped a cross-country clear inside the time at Bramham.

"After the horse's illness last year this is a dream come true," Cook, 41, said.

"With his past form, Miners Frolic has proved he can do it, but he nearly died of colitis 12 months ago, so to come back to this level shows he's a real fighter."

And French added: "This is what my team and I have been working towards over the last few years, so it's excellent to be getting this far.

"Obviously, I am confident that Topper will cope with the going at Greenwich because of our experience at the test event, but Topper and Jakata are both amazing horses with different strengths.

"We will make a decision nearer the time based on who is feeling on the best form nearer the Games."