Toytown feted as fans say goodbye

August 9, 2011

Zara Phillips officially retired her World and European Champion eventer at The Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park on Sunday.

Interview with Zara Phillips on Toytown's retirement:
Toytown, known at home as Noddy, was paraded in the main arena as fans paid tribute to the chestnut.

Noddy was spotted as a gangly seven-year-old by Zara's father, Captain Mark Phillips, when his then-owner Meryl Winter was at a Pony Club instructor's seminar. He was purchased a few months later.

Zara and Noddy quickly struck up a relationship and Zara was crowned British Under-25 Champion at Bramham in 2002.

A leg injury ruled Noddy out of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, but he returned with a vengeance in 2005 to win team and individual gold medals at the Blenheim European Championships. Twelve months later he was part of the British squad for the World Equestrian Games in Aachen, where, once again, he took the individual honours and the team won silver.

Noddy made his final team appearance at the Pratoni European Championships in 2007, where he finished sixth individually and helped Britain secure team gold.

The gelding accumulated 1421 British Eventing points in his illustrious career and, fittingly, completed his last ever event at "Little" Gatcombe in September 2009.

Phillips said: "Toytown is my horse of a lifetime and he has given me more than I could ever have dreamed of. It seemed fitting to give him a proper retirement ceremony at home, at Gatcombe Park."

Noddy will enjoy his retirement hacking out in the Gloucestershire countryside and grazing at home on the Gatcombe estate where "he will be thoroughly spoiled", according to his rider.

Zara Phillips on Toytown with her parents, Captain Mark Phillips and Princess Anne, at Noddy's retirement ceremony at Gatcombe. © Al Crook