17 JUNE 2008

There's been no sitting around and moping for Zara Phillips, who was forced to withdraw from this year's Beijing Olympics due to injury sustained by her beloved mount Toytown. Princess Anne's daughter is already looking ahead to the 2012 London Games, after making a thrilling comeback at a major Scottish Equestrian event.

At this week's Burgie International Horse trials near Inverness Zara rode to victory in the two-star category - for up-and-coming horses - on 11-year-old mount Secret Legacy. And she almost claimed a double win, just beaten into second place in the one-star competition - for horses just being introduced to competing - on the Queen's skewbald mare Tiger Lily IX.

With injured Toytown's age - 15 - and doubts over his fitness ruling him out of the next Olympics, both horses are possible candidates to take his place. While Zara would still have considerable work to do with both to get them in shape - Tiger Lily would have to move up three grades to be a contender - this week's results bode well for the future.

"Hopefully one of the horses in my yard now might come right for 2012. I have to start thinking ahead," said the 27-year-old royal. "I'm getting a stable together with some really nice young horses, but to single one out now would be too difficult. The next Games are more than four years away and anything can happen."

Photo: ©
Princess Anne's daughter launched her preparations for the next Olympics this week, riding her grandmother's seven-year-old mare Tiger Lily IX at Burgie International Horse trials. She was narrowly beaten into second place in the one-star category, for horses just being introduced to competing Photo: © Rex
Photo: ©
"Tiger Lily means a lot to me," she said of the mount, who made her three-day-event debut at the competition and is now a possible candidate for Zara's next Olympic bid Photo: © Rex