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Royal Zara crowned top sports star

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LONDON, England -- The queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award for her victory in the three-day eventing competition at the World Equestrian Games in Germany earlier this year.

Phillips emerged top from a poll of viewers' votes to claim what is widely regarded as the most prestigious annual sports awards in Britain.

Her mother the Princess Royal won the same award in 1971, while her father, Mark Phillips, himself a former Olympic gold medallist in equestrian, was in the audience in Birmingham for the live vote.

The 25-year-old admited to being "amazed" to win the trophy, beating the bookmakers' favorite, golfer Darren Clarke, into second place.

Clarke was a Ryder Cup golf hero for Europe against the United States only a few weeks after the death of his wife Heather through cancer.

Phillips, who won the individual gold on Toytown in Aachen, also helped Great Britain claim the team silver and has become only the third rider to hold the European and world titles at the same time.

She is considered a major contender for Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008.

The Princess Royal won the coveted BBC award in 1971 after winning gold at the European championships.

Runner-up Clarke won all three of his Ryder Cup matches - two fourballs and his singles clash against Zach Johnson - to help Europe beat the United States by nine points at the K-Club in Ireland.

Clarke broke down in tears after holing his final putt on the 16th green to seal victory over Johnson.

World championship-winning gymnast Beth Tweddle finished third.

Phillips was crowned Britain's top sports star of the year at a live ceremony.

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