Equestrianism: Phillips looks to High Kingdom to book overdue Olympics ticket

After Toytown's injuries in 2004 and 2008, eventer eyes Games spot with new 'relaxed' horse

Zara Phillips kept her Olympic dream alive with an eye-catching display in the final trial for London 2012 yesterday. While the in-form world and British No 1 William Fox-Pitt dominated the Bramham International Horse Trials – winning both the three-star classes – the 2006 world champion Phillips staked her claim with the Great Britain selectors Ian Stark, Mandy Stibbe and Angela Tucker by thriving under pressure on High Kingdom.

With the selectors meeting in order to announce their eventing team of five for London later this week, her performance could not have been better timed as she secured a third-placed CIC finish behind Fox-Pitt and the New Zealander Andrew Nicholson.

Phillips, whose 2004 and 2008 Olympic selection hopes were dashed by injuries to her former top horse Toytown, beat fellow London contenders Nicola Wilson, Tina Cook, Laura Collett and Lucy Wiegersma, although they also all performed impressively.

While Fox-Pitt, Wilson, Mary King and Piggy French are widely expected to be picked for London, the fifth spot appears to be a battle between at least five riders, including the 31-year-old Phillips. "Everyone is fighting to get on the team, especially with the Olympics being on home ground," said Phillips, the Queen's grand-daughter.

"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. 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. He is pretty different from Toytown. Toytown loved the crowds and being at big competitions. This guy is pretty relaxed and just gets on with it."

The GB team manager Yogi Breisner said he was "very pleased" with Phillips' performance, and anticipated a long selection meeting at the final deliberations at Bramham House in Yorkshire on London combinations.

"I don't think it will be an easy decision because I think there are quite a few of them that both here and at Houghton International two weeks ago have put up some pretty smart performances," Breisner said.

"Looking at the horses here now, they are just starting to come into gear, which I rather like. Experience from a rider's point of view is very much key, and there are riders that are in form, performing well. 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."

Fox-Pitt wrapped up Bramham's CIC class by going clear inside the time on Neuf des Coeurs, which should put the horse in Olympics selection contention alongside Lionheart and his double four-star winner Parklane Hawk.

News
Lois Pryce... Life Without a Postcode. Lois lives on a boat with her husband.. Registering to vote in the election has prooved to be very difficult without a fixed residential post code. (David Sandison)
newsHow living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Sport
Steven Fletcher scores the second goal for Scotland
cricketBut they have to bounce back to beat Gibraltar in Euro 2016 qualifier
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing