Young talent Zara Phillips is to take Pippa Funnell’s place in the British eventing team destined for the FEI Blenheim Petplan European Championships at Blenheim next month.

The decision to withdraw Funnell’s team horse Primmore’s Pride from the championships was made after he was retired in the cross-country phase at the British Open at Gatcombe last weekend following an uncharacteristic performance.

Owned by Metier Consulting and Roger & Denise Lincoln, the 12-year-old bay gelding will undergo further veterinary investigation and requires a short time off, so will not be ready for the European Championships.

Phillips will partner Irish-bred Toytown, owned by herself and Cantor Index, in the British team The pair were runners-up to Funnell and Primmore’s Pride at Burghley CCI**** in 2003 and finished second at Luhmuhlen CCI**** in July this year.

Impressive performances in both the novice and intermediate championships at Gatcombe last weekend indicate that Phillips is on top form and more than capable of joining team mates William Fox-Pitt, Leslie Law and Jeanette Brakewell in their bid for the European title.

Funnell will now ride either Ensign, owned by Jenny Nolan and Funnell, or Walk on Star, owned by Nick & Barbara Walkinshaw, as an individual.

Two other riders in the 12-strong squad now know the horses they will ride at Blenheim; Keith Scott’s Coup de Coeur has been selected to partner Olympic gold medallist Leslie Law while Tom Quigley, owned by Anne Henson, is Polly Stockton’s horse ahead of Tangle Man.