Zara Phillips (pictured) has withdrawn Toytown from the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.

The World Champion’s decision to pull out the chestnut gelding, who was sixth after dressage, is not unexpected as riders continue to worry about the hard ground on the cross-country course.

“I’d love to run but he [Toytown] is my main concern, which is why I’m umming and ahhing,” Zara said yesterday, explaining that she was particularly wary because Toytown missed the whole of the 2004 season through injury.

Five other horses have been withdrawn so far: Mary King’s two rides, Call Again Cavalier (eighth equal after dressage) and Cashel Bay (54th equal), Daisy Dick’s Spring Along (56th equal), Andreas Dibowski’s FRH Little Lemon (17th) and Sam Albert’s Before I Do It (60th equal).

The Badminton team have been working on the ground all night and many riders will be walking the course again this morning before making their final decision.