Zara Phillips is out of this summer’s Beijing Olympic Games after her horse Toytown suffered an injury.
Zara, the reigning world equestrian champion, will no longer compete in the world-famous event and cannot enter on another horse because competitors are chosen in horse and rider pairs.
The 27-year-old admits she was “very disappointed” by the news, but still has high hopes for the remainder of the Great Britain team, led by trainer Yogi Breisner.
She said: “However, with horses these things happen and we still have a very strong team. I wish them every success.”
Breisner added: “It is a tremendous disappointment to her, of course. But it’s a blow to the whole team, and we all felt extremely disappointed yesterday.”
This is the latest blow for British Olympic contenders.
Heptathlete Jessica Ennis withdrew from the games with a fractured foot, while Paula Radcliffe’s attendance at the tournament has been put in doubt by a fractured femur.
While Zara’s replacement has not yet been announced, Breisner added: “Of course we will miss the reigning world champion, but I am pretty sure the team will be as strong as it was before when we finally go to Hong Kong.
“Zara would have been very young to compete at this level. Olympic eventing competitors are usually in their 30s and 40s.”