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Zara's got pep in her step at horse trials

ANOTHER British royal snuck into Ireland this week.

But the arrival of Queen Elizabeth's grand-daughter and former World Champion eventer Zara Phillips was somewhat more low-key than that of the monarch.

Ms Phillips was taking part in the dressage phase aboard her horse Silver Lining V as the International Horse Trials got under way yesterday in Tattersalls, Ratoath, Co Meath.

The eventer, who is due to marry England rugby international Mike Tindall in Edinburgh on July 30, was just one of 300 competitors who travelled to Co Meath for the event which runs until Sunday.

The competition features for the first time a top-ranked three-star class where competitors can clock up valuable Olympic points to put them in contention for selection.

Thousands are expected to visit Tattersalls during the event.

Tomorrow, competitors will brave the new cross-country course designed by Ian Stark, with the final show-jumping phase on Sunday. There will also be a country fair on site with horse-shoe throwing, a rifle range, archery, vintage tractors, crafts, shopping and a food village.

Among those taking part will be New Zealand's Olympic medallist Andrew Nicholson, as well as former British world champion Oliver Townend and Irish rider Capt Brian Curran Cournane.

Princess Haya of Jordan, president of the world governing body, the FEI, is expected to also attend.

Irish Independent