Royalty and statesmen




A delighted Zara shows off the medals she has worked so hard to win. Her victory at the World Equestrian Games in Aachen means she will almost certainly be on the team sent to the 2008 Beijing Olympics
Photo: © AFP
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Determination written all over her face, Zara clears the last fence between her and gold. She has been training her mount Toytown for the last six years to prepare him for world-class competition
Photo: © AFP


28 AUGUST 2006

It was the day equestrian star Zara Phillips finally went one better than her mother, with a triumphant display of horsemanship in Germany. With the Princess Royal watching in delight, the Queen's granddaughter took the world three-day eventing title - a feat Anne, who was European champion, never achieved.

At the World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Zara punched the air with pride after coming from behind to win the gold medal. She rode to victory on Toytown, the chestnut gelding bought by her father Captain Mark Phillips for just £400 six years ago, and which the hard-working royal mucks out every morning at 6am.

The 25-year-old sportswoman also helped her British teammates to silver. Aside from her parents, Zara was cheered on by her stepfather Tim Laurence and rugby ace boyfriend Mike Tindall. Meanwhile another ardent supporter, the Queen was apparently 'glued' to her TV set at Balmoral, following the event on a satellite channel.

But the excitement was tinged with sadness for Zara, who burst into tears after clearing the final fence. Her close friend and fellow showjumper Sherelle Duke was killed in a riding accident at a competition eight days ago. "I went out today to do it for a friend of mine, who died a week ago today, to try and get her a gold medal," she said.

Despite her sorrow Zara can congratulate herself on a job well done as she is now a certainty to ride for her country at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

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