Charles and Skelton still riding high despite defeat
21:55 GMT, 22 December 2012
British Olympic heroes Peter Charles and Nick Skelton just missed out on the perfect climax to an unforgettable year when they were pipped for glory in the FEI World Cup qualifier at Olympia.
The Netherlands' Marc Houtzager thwarted home hopes by claiming the 30,000 first prize and gaining some revenge for his Olympic heartache.
Top form: Marc Houtzager rides Sterrehof's Tamino
Houtzager was a member of the Dutch team beaten to the Olympic gold after a nerve-shredding jump-off by the British quartet of Charles, Skelton, Ben Maher and Scott Brash at Greenwich Park less than five months ago.
Malin Baryard-Johnsson of Sweden finished second yesterday with Charles, riding a recent addition to his string, Murka's Odie de Frevent, third and Skelton fourth aboard his Olympic mount Big Star.
Charles flew the British flag with one of only three double clear rounds despite his performance coming just three months after he underwent surgery on his groin.
'I have been off for a long time and this was the horse's first proper grand prix,' Charles said.
Best of British: Peter Charles on Odie de Frevent
'The course was plenty big enough today and you certainly needed a very quick horse towards the end of the course.'
Charles, though, admitted that his partnership with Odie de Frevent remains in its infancy.
He added: 'I am still trying out new bits with the horse. I don't know how fully I can go with her, but I think I will run her in the grand prix tomorrow.'
Then, reflecting on an unforgettable season, Charles, who will be 53 on New Year's Day, added: 'This year has been what dreams are made of.
'I didn't think I was going to be fit enough to ride at this show. To do that today was really nice.'