Zara in fine fettle ahead of Olympics

READY: Zara Phillips and High Kingdom are ready for their Olympic challenge  Picture: Brian Rossiter

READY: Zara Phillips and High Kingdom are ready for their Olympic challenge Picture: Brian Rossiter

First published in Sport by

ZARA Phillips has described the prospect of making her Olympics debut at London 2012 as “different class”.

The former Beaudesert Park School pupil completed a successful final run with her London horse High Kingdom at the Barbury International Horse Trials in Wiltshire.

She finished fifth in section B of the CIC two-star category, where her London-bound colleagues Piggy French (DHI Topper W) and William Fox-Pitt (Lionheart) were third and seventh, respectively.

Although 2006 world champion Phillips will compete again before the Olympic eventing begins at Greenwich Park on July 28, High Kingdom’s next scheduled appearance is not until then.

“I am really pleased with him,” said Phillips, the Queen’s granddaughter.

“He felt good, and he was very accurate.

“The horse has really improved a lot in the last year.

“I have always known he was a good horse, but he has learnt so much. His weakest phase is the dressage, but he is still learning in that phase and getting stronger. We just have to keep working on it.

“We had a good result at Saumur last year, and then he really stepped up at Burghley. He is much stronger this year, and he handles the (cross-country) tracks very well.

“We had so much fun at Burghley, and this year he has grown. He felt fantastic at Bramham a few weeks ago.”

Phillips clinched her selection for the Games with an impressive performance under pressure at Bramham, and she will arrive in London as part of a strong British team alongside Fox-Pitt, French, five-time Olympian Mary King and double 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Tina Cook.

“High Kingdom is a very relaxed horse - he loves his job,” Phillips added.

“(Owner) Trevor Hemmings is so excited by the Olympic selection. He has supported me for a long time now, and we bought the horse as a youngster.

“At this moment, you are trying to get through everything and get there (London). Then for the competition it is all focus, and when you have finished it’s relief.

“But it is just going to be different class going to an Olympics on your home turf. It is very exciting to be part of the team.”

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