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Phillips keeps Olympic dream alive
Zara Phillips kept her Olympic dream alive after delivering an eye-catching display in the final equestrian trial for London 2012 on Sunday.
World and British number one William Fox-Pitt dominated the Equi-Trek Bramham International Horse Trials, winning both feature three-star classes to continue his brilliant run of form.
But with the selectors meeting on Sunday and set to announce their eventing team of five for London later this week, Phillips' nudge in their direction could not have been better timed as she secured a third-placed CIC finish behind Fox-Pitt and 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 a battle between at least five riders, including 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, who must now play a nervous waiting game.
"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."
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.
And Fox-Pitt's healthy overnight lead was never threatened in the CCI section as he landed his first title with new ride Chilli Morning - and sixth overall at Bramham - following a showjumping clear that left them well ahead of runner-up Pippa Funnell (Mirage D'Elle) with Izzy Taylor (Briarlands Matilda) third.
"Nick has done a superb job on him," Fox-Pitt said, of Chilli Morning's previous rider Nick Gauntlett. "All the donkey work has been done, and I am the lucky one who has got him at the age of 12 when he is grown-up and established."