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Zara Phillips Conquers The World
Aachen, Germany
Photos: Anthony Trollope/
Zara Phillips on the podium at Aachen
After a tremendously exciting Jumping round in the great Aachen arena, Zara Phillips and Toy Town are the 2006 World Eventing Champions (46.70). Australia's Clayton Fredericks aboard Ben Along Time takes the silver (48.80) and Amy Tryon and Poggio are in bronze (50.70).

With all the winners within a fence, one may say that it was a tight finish indeed. The result was not known until the very last rider - Zara Phillips who was in the lead after Dressage and Cross Country - had jumped the last obstacle. The pair had a pole down in the C element of the penultimate triple combination and collected a time penalty, but victory was at hand. And as soon as Toy Town was out of the course, the stadium exploded into loud cheers with German flags and Union Jacks adding to the colourful atmosphere.

"It was amazing to jump in that arena," Zara said. "There is nothing in Eventing that comes anywhere near it." One could have imaged then that an Eventing horse like Toy Town would have been tense and impressed but that was not the case at all. The true showman that he is just loves crowds and even believes that they have come all the way to watch him. So the Aachen atmosphere lifted him up and contributed to the pair's great success.
Medal winners Clayton Fredericks (AUS), Zara Phillips (GBR) and Amy Tryon (USA) share the podium
In a gesture of true friendship, Zara Phillips dedicated her medal to Irish rider Sherelle Duke who suffered a fatal accident at a one day national event exactly a week ago. "I lost a friend and what I did these days I did for her," Zara declared. All the members of the British team wore on their coats red and white ribbons - the colours of Sherelle Duke - in memory of her.

The other hero of the day, Clayton Fredericks, was also understandably pleased with his 11-year old gelding Ben Along Time. Clayton, who won the 2005 FEI Eventing World Cup Final one year ago, knew to remain focused on the job at hand and keep a cool hand. "That's what Eventing is all about. Perform as well as possible in every sport and keep the concentration until the end."

Bronze medallist Amy Tryon saw her win as a huge surprise. She was also a member of the US team and had considered her job to be a good pathfinder for the team. The paid her horse Poggio the tribute he deserves. "I'm just so lucky to be able to ride him," she commented, "Poggio and I have known each other for many years now and I've found that he has a unique way of doing things and to win, I have to let him be." Poggio was not initially thought of as a medal winner. He was discovered nine years ago through a classified ad in the Seattle Times. Poggio or Pogi as he is affectionately nicknamed was an ex-racehorse who also worked as a mountain pack horse. He and Amy were members of the gold winning US team at the 2002 FEI World Equestrian Games in Jerez. Now they are again on the podium. What a career!

To the sounds of deafening applause, team Germany were crowned team World Champions (156), followed by Great Britain (180) in silver and Australia (197,30) in bronze. Team USA are in fourth position only 0,80 penalty points behind Australia. Bettina Hoy, who had begun the competition with impressive Dressage and a clear Cross country, had two Jumping poles and a time penalty today, warmly congratulated Zara on her win. She also paid tribute to Japanese rider Yoshiaki Oiwa, who just like Zara, Team bronze medallist and husband Andrew Hoy and herself, is based at Gatcombe. Yoshi finishes in 18th position on his Dressage score of 74.50. A remarkable achievement indeed! Team silver medallist winner William Fox-Pitt also congratulated the World Champion, saying that it was almost discouraging to see her record after only after two years on the British team.

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