Phillips remains in the frame
June 8, 2012 18:23 pm
Zara Phillips delivered a battling display to keep herself in the selection shake-up for the equestrian places at London 2012.
Phillips will go into Saturday's penultimate day of the Equi-Trek Bramham International Horse Trials in contention for CIC three-star honours. After the cancellation of Badminton and Chatsworth last month due to prolonged rain, Bramham has taken on added significance in terms of Olympic selection, with the British eventing team announced next week.
William Fox-Pitt, Mary King, Piggy French and Nicola Wilson are expected to claim four of those places, but the fifth spot is presumed to be wide open with riders like 2006 world champion Phillips, Laura Collett, Tina Cook, Sarah Cohen and Lucy Wiegersma all in contention.
Phillips is 10th overnight - ahead of Wilson and Fox-Pitt's Lionheart - following a 43.2 dressage score achieved in wet conditions that tested a 96-strong field.
"Sadly, they weren't the best conditions to show off a horse's paces, but he was really good despite that," Phillips said. "He has really grown up this year and is now good in his brain. We plodded around in the mud, but I am really pleased overall with him."
British selector Mandy Stibbe added: "High Kingdom is a lovely horse and Zara will be out to prove to everybody how good she is.
"There are at least 10 combinations that are looking fantastic, so selection is still up and running. We are all excited about it. There is a whole bunch of them in contention for selection - it is all up for grabs."
Collett, meanwhile, produced another outstanding dressage performance that lit up the action in Yorkshire. Wiltshire-based Collett swept past overnight leader Lucy Jackson by posting a score of 37.5 penalties on Rayef.
Collett and Rayef led Badminton after the opening day last year, eventually finishing eighth to confirm their status as genuine challengers for Olympic selection.
Fox-Pitt is just 1.2 penalties behind Collett following a strong test on Neuf des Couers, and this year's Belton champion Cohen (Treason) is tied for third with New Zealander Andrew Nicholson (Avebury).
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