Zara Phillips will officially retire Toytown at Gatcombe

  • Zara Phillips will officially retire Toytown on the final day of the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park, Sunday, 7 August.

    The 18-year-old former world and European champion will be paraded in the main arena at 1.45pm to allow his fans to pay tribute.

    Zara, who marries England rugby player Mike Tindall this weekend in Scotland, said: “Toytown is my horse of a lifetime and he has given me more than I could ever have dreamed of. It seemed fitting to give him a proper retirement ceremony at home, at Gatcombe Park.”

    With numerous achievements over the past decade, Toytown is undoubtedly one of the best event horses of all time. A fabulous dressage and cross-country horse, he only showed a chink in his armour occasionally in the showjumping.

    For many fans the major sadness is that his career was interrupted by injury, meaning he never had the chance to contest an Olympic Games, missing Athens 2004 and Hong Kong 2008.

    Toytown will enjoy his retirement hacking out in the Gloucestershire countryside and grazing at home on the Gatcombe Estate, where “he will be thoroughly spoiled”, according to his rider.

    Career path

    Zara’s father, H&H columnist Mark Phillips spotted “Noddy” as a gangly seven-year-old with his owner at the time, Meryl Winter, at a Pony Club instructor’s seminar and the horse was bought a few months later.

    Zara’s first major achievement with the chestnut was winning the under-25 championships at Bramham in 2002. They went on take the individual silver medal at the young rider Europeans the same year.

    Zara proved she was a force to be reckoned with at senior level by finishing second at Burghley in 2003 — she led overnight but her single fence down let Pippa Funnell win and claim the Rolex Grand Slam.

    Two years later, Zara made her senior team debut, winning individual and team gold on home ground at the Blenheim Europeans. She and Toytown followed this up by claiming the world title and team silver at Aachen in 2006.

    Zara was in the running for an individual medal at the European Championships at Pratoni in 2007, but problems in the showjumping dropped her to sixth, though the team still won gold.

    Toytown’s last competition was the open intermediate at “Little” Gatcombe in September 2009, where he jumped a steady double clear.

    In all, he accumulated 1421 British Eventing points.

    Pictures of Zara and Toytown

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