Zara Phillips Olympic hopes have been put on hold for the time being as her ride, Toytown, has sustained a leg injury, which will rule him out of Badminton.
The Cantor Index-owned 11-year-old injured himself slightly in the field and although British team vet Jenny Hall will be monitoring his progress carefully, there is no question of him being fit in time for the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials in May.
This comes as a major blow to the young royal, who has no alternative ride of equal experience. Not only will she miss her Badminton debut, but inevitably, the situation will place a question mark over her Olympic hopes.
British Eventing team manager, Yogi Breisner was quick to stress that this certainly does not “completely rule her out of the Olympic picture.”
He added: “Obviously it is disappointing for Zara to miss her Badminton debut. We will watch Toytowns progress closely and in consultation with all parties concerned, make a decision on his competitive programme when he returns to full fitness.”
Zara Phillips and Toytown ended last season on a high, narrowly missing first place at Burghley three-day event, when she was just edged out into second place after a remarkable performance on her four-star debut.
Zara is the youngest rider on the British Olympic eventing team long-list, and while none of her other rides could take her to Athens, if she is forced to miss this year’s Games, she has plenty of time to develop her Olympic career.