Royal takes shine to Kiwi horses

Phillips seen in Oakura with Heelan Tompkins

Last updated 09:08 01/12/2012
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Zara Phillips was in Taranaki to look at horses.

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The queen's granddaughter, equestrian Zara Phillips, makes regular horse-buying trips to New Zealand and enjoys being able to go about her business incognito.

Most recently she was inspecting a horse in Taranaki part- owned by former Olympian Heelan Tompkins.

But it was not Phillips who bought the horse - Cortaflex Up 'N' Go - it was the more recognisable Kiwi Olympian Mark Todd.

The Up 'N' Go sale ends speculation in the horse world that British Olympic eventing team gold medallist Phillips was considering buying the horse after she was seen in Oakura with Tompkins early last month.

Apart from confirming that Phillips had been in Taranaki and that she had travelled widely throughout New Zealand with her inspecting "a bunch of horses", Tompkins was tight-lipped.

She said one of reasons Phillips enjoyed visiting New Zealand was that she could remain out of the spotlight.

"When she was over for the Rugby World Cup she bought a horse that she is competing on now called Black Tuxedo which she loves. She was trying to find a few more like that one.

"She likes to get horses that are four- or five year-olds that she can develop herself," Tompkins said.

Tompkins said Phillips took a shine to two or three horses she saw on her latest trip to New Zealand.

Meanwhile, Todd completed negotiations to secure a half share of Up 'N' Go this week.

Two-time Olympian Tompkins confirmed yesterday the horse's sale for a undisclosed six-figure sum.

Tompkins owned a half-share of the thoroughbred gelding with Wellington woman Pip McCarroll, who is retaining her share in the horse.

Tompkins said Todd was in Taranaki a month ago to trial her stable star.

"Then I got the call that he was going to take him a few days ago," Tompkins said.

Todd, 56, winner of five Olympic medals over the past 28 years, has not ruled out competing in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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