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Smiling Zara prepares to fly to New Zealand as friends dismiss 'exaggerated' stories

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Zara Phillips isn’t letting headlines about her husband interfere with her professional life.Unfazed by reports about Mike Tindall's now-infamous night out, the 30-year-old took first prize at a prestigious horse riding competition in Ireland at the weekend.She looked delighted as she accepted her rosette at the end of the three-day Johnson and Perrott International Horse Trials, smiling at the crowd and patting her ten-year-old gelding, Lord Lauries.


Zara will soon make the 11,000 mile journey to New Zealand to support her spouse as he competes in the Rugby World Cup.

He has been at the centre of a media storm after CCTV footage was released showing him in a bar with a woman.

In the clip he is seen embracing and holding hands with the mystery lady, who plants a kiss on the top of his head.On Monday, a man appeared in court in New Zealand in connection with the CCTV footage.


While Zara herself has declined to comment, friends of the Queen's granddaughter have stated that the incident has been "blown out of proportion".

Jonathan Dixon (pictured above) is alleged to have uploaded security camera footage to the internet and is accused of "accessing a computer system for dishonest purpose".He is thought to be a bouncer at Queenstown's Altitude Bar, where the England team spent an evening following their World Cup win over Argentina.


Channel 4 Racing presenter Alice Plunkett – who attended Mike and Zara's nuptials in July and whose husband is fellow equestrian William Fox-Pitt – told the Telegraph: "Maybe the choice of venue wasn't great, but I think it has all been exaggerated. "They were just celebrating their win. "Mike's father Phil has also dismissed the furore. "He (Mike) says she was an old friend and that's that," he told the Daily Mail from his home in Yorkshire. "He is ignoring it and concentrating on his rugby. We didn’t speak about Zara at all. I don’t think she is upset or has anything to be distressed about."

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