EVENTING: Team silver for Zara and co at World Equestrian Games

EVENTING: Team silver for Zara and co at World Equestrian Games

Great Britain's silver medal team in eventing, from left: Harry Meade, Zara Phillips, Kristina Cook and William Fox-Pitt , at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games at Stade D'Ornano, Normandy. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Zara Phillips with her eventing team silver medal at the World Equestrian Games 2014 (9840453)

Great Britain's Zara Phillips riding High Kingdom in the final phase of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games at Stade D'Ornano, Normandy. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

First published in Sport
Last updated

ZARA PHILLIPS' thoughts quickly turned to team-mate Harry Meade after she had helped GB to an eventing silver medal at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy.

Zara from Gatcombe, followed up her clear round in the cross country on Saturday aboard High Kingdom with another faultless display in the show jumping arena which earned her 11th place overall.

But last into the arena, world No.1 William Fox-Pitt, had one early fence down so another major international title eluded him as he dropped from the individual gold medal position to third behind the German one-two of Sandra Auffarth and runner-up Michael Jung.

The British quartet – Fox-Pitt, Phillips, Tina Cook (16th) and Harry Meade, who was sadly reduced to a spectating role after his horse Wild Lone collapsed and died following Saturday's cross-country phase – nonetheless finished just 22 penalties behind the all-conquering Germans.

"Yesterday was a very difficult day," said Phillips, who lives just a few miles away from Luckington-based Meade.

"For Harry to lose his horse was so sad. He had such a fantastic round, and this (result) is definitely going towards Harry.

"It was great that we could put in some good performances for him."

Then reflecting on her own comeback to British team colours following the birth of her first child earlier this year, she said: "I was so excited getting back in the team, and it is good the horse could prove what he can do.

"He can be a bit of a lazy horse – he doesn't really get out of bed for too much! – but he has been in a big atmosphere before at London (2012), which I think is something that we all strive for."

Meade received a huge cheer from a near-capacity 20,000 crowd when he received his medal.

"I have lost a wonderful horse, but what more fitting a way to remember him than to have a medal that he contributed towards and that we will always remember him by," he said.

"The eventing public is wonderful, and the cameraderie from the other riders has been overwhelming. It has been a real example of what a great sport we are involved in."

Another consequence of Britain's silver medal is that they have earned automatic team qualification for the Rio Olympics in 2016 along with Germany, third-placed surprise package Holland, France, Australia and Ireland.

Fox-Pitt, who had hoped to emulate previous British world champions Phillips (2006), Lucinda Green (1982) and Mary Gordon-Watson (1970), took his individual setback philosophically.

The 45-year-old has won more than 50 international three-day events and collected over a dozen major championship medals – but not yet a gold.

He said: "I am very pleased with Chilli Morning. It was frustrating having a fence down, but he has had a fantastic competition. He has a superb temperament and he is a real worker and a real trier.

"Perhaps today he was a little bit heavy-legged and a little bit less reactive than he normally is, and he just flicked that pole (second fence).

"The atmosphere in Caen has been crazy – very akin to the London Olympics – and the horses were lifted by that. It is brilliant for the sport."

Finally, Fox-Pitt's thought turned back to Meade, saying: "It was devastating news about Wild Lone, which has dampened spirits, but hopefully today will go some way towards giving Harry and his connections a bit of a lift."

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