Zara Phillips will make her debut at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials this year (3-6 May). The 25-year-old has entered Toytown, her partner in winning last year’s World Equestrian Games (WEG) and the 2005 European Championships.
Zara will start as one of the favourites at Badminton, an event her father, H&H columnist Mark Phillips, won four times.
Badminton spokesman Julian Seaman said: “Badminton traditionally has the highest-class field of any three-day event, so it is unusual but exciting to welcome a World and European Champion who has yet to complete the ultimate challenge.”
Andrew Hoy and Moonfleet will defend their 2006 title, while previous winners William Fox-Pitt, Pippa Funnell and Mary King have also entered.
A record 150 horses were entered, of which 100 have been accepted. The ballot is based on how many International Equestrian Federation (FEI) points horses have won at three- and four-star level since the start of 2005.
This year is the first when riders can qualify for the 2008 Olympics, which has contributed to a particularly strong foreign entry, as competitors try to get their qualifications early on.
Fourteen nations will be represented, with foreign challengers including America’s Olympic individual silver medallist Kim Severson, and WEG silver medallist Clayton Fredericks and his wife, Lucinda — who won Burghley last year and also rides for Australia.
France’s World Cup champion Nicolas Touzaint will compete, as will Japan’s Yoshiaki Oiwa, whom the British public took to their hearts when he made a fantastic Badminton debut in 2005.
For the complete start list visit: www.badminton-horse.co.uk
Read William Fox-Pitt’s views on Badminton’s ballot system on page 38 of Horse & Hound (29 March, ’07)
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (29 March, ’07)