By LOUISE ECCLES
Olympic honour: Wearing the white and grey torchbearers' uniform, the Queen's granddaughter looked regal as she took part in the fifth day of the torch relay on her beloved horse Toytown
The cheers could hardly have been louder if she’d won a gold medal.
A crowd of more than 30,000 turned out yesterday to watch Zara Phillips bearing the Olympic torch at Cheltenham racecourse.
The Queen’s 31-year-old granddaughter was taking part in the fifth day of the torch relay, on her beloved horse Toytown.
She momentarily lost her grip on the torch after it was first lit, when her horse was unnerved by the noise from the gas-fired device.
But the pair soon regained their composure and did a lap of the course as delighted spectators waved Union Jacks and cheered them on.
Royal blip: She momentarily lost her grip on the torch after it was first lit, when her horse was startled. But a beaming Miss Phillips soon regained her composure and did a lap of the course as delighted spectators waved union jacks and cheered her on
Miss Phillips, who is married to former England rugby captain Mike Tindall, stopped riding Toytown last year after he was blighted by injuries, but brought him out of retirement for the special occasion.
Audience: More than 30,000 people turned out to watch Miss Phillips, who lives in Cheltenham, ride into the racecourse
Competition hopes: Yesterday, the former world equestrian champion said she is still hoping to qualify for the London 2012 Games
Royal footsteps: Her mother, Princess Royal,received the Olympic flame in Athens last week and then carried it off the plane when it arrived in Cornwall
Proud owner: She said taking part in the relay meant her horse Toytown could 'do something for the Olympics, adding, 'This one is for him'
Job well done: The Princess Royal pats her daughter's horse Toytown
She said taking part in the relay near her Gloucestershire home meant her horse could ‘do something for the Olympics’, adding: ‘This one is for him.’
Despite Toytown’s retirement, the former world equestrian champion said she is still hoping to qualify for London 2012.
‘It would be amazing to be part of it, to actually go to an Olympic Games. Everything is hitting home now the torch is here. The buzz has started.’
Miss Phillips, is married to former England rugby captain Mike Tindall, who was pictured last night in high spirits leaving London nightclub Whisky Mist
She said that the torch was quite heavy and her biceps were aching at the end.
‘It’s not too heavy when you pick it up but if you’re carrying it for a little while you can feel a little burn,’ she said.
Miss Phillips followed in the footsteps of her mother, the Princess Royal, who received the Olympic flame in Athens last week and carried it off the plane when it arrived in Cornwall.
Her appearance followed a dramatic day for the relay after a 16-year-old boy tried to snatch the torch minutes after it was carried by Chelsea striker Didier Drogba.
The grinning youth was rugby-tackled by a security guard after getting within 2ft of a runner in Swindon.
Apart from Miss Phillips, the biggest applause of the day was reserved for 16-year-old torchbearer Ben Fox.
Star attraction: Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, 34, jogged with the flaming torch while more than 15,000 people cheered and chanted his name
Gold pride: Receiving some of the biggest applause of the day was 16-year-old torchbearer, Ben Fox. The wheelchair basketball player, who hopes to compete at the 2016 Paralympics, used a crutch for support as he carried the torch through Wootton Bassett
The wheelchair basketball player, who hopes to compete at the 2016 Paralympics, used a crutch for support as he carried the torch through Wootton Bassett.
Earlier in the day, organisers made an embarrassing wrong turn whilst escorting the flame in a convoy of cars – leaving spectators at Clifton Suspension Bridge baffled.
The torch left the foggy streets of Bristol for North Somerset at 5.50am but went the wrong way at Failand.
A planned fireworks display on the bridge had to be delayed by ten minutes until the torch got back on track.