Good evening from day two of the world’s greatest dog show, Crufts 2009. They say that time flies when you’re having fun and it must be true because I can’t believe that we’re half way through the show already. There are still two whole days of great canine competition and other four-legged fun to enjoy though, so why not come along to the NEC and get a piece of the action this weekend?
If you can’t be here in person, there are still a couple of great ways that you can feel part of the show from the comfort of whatever chair you’re sitting in to read this report.
Firstly there is the wonderful live online stream of all the action taking place in the Main Ring of the show, which is located in the NEC Arena. We’ve had it on all day in the press office and can honestly say that the production team responsible are doing a magnificent job of capturing the speed, grace and skill of all the dogs competing, and also the beautiful rapport between those dogs and their loving owners.
As well as the live coverage during the day there is a video on demand service which allows you to catch up with what’s been happening around the show at any time, which is handy for our many overseas visitors who might balk at being up at 4am to watch group judging! This service is great value and costs just £1.99 per day or £9.99 for the whole of the rest of March so you can watch it all at your leisure.
The second way you can be a part of Crufts 2009 is by voting for the winner of a big final taking place in the Arena on Sunday. Sadly we can’t offer you the chance to pick this year’s Best in Show – that honour will belong to judge Peter Green alone – but you can help choose who will be the 2009 Friends For Life winner. Six truly remarkable dogs have been nominated for this heart-warming award and you can read their wonderful stories of courage and companionship at (insert link) and find out how to cast your vote.
And so onto today’s action. There are four dogs which have now made it through to Sunday’s prestigious Best in Show final, following the judging of the Toy and Utility groups.
The Utility group was the first to enter the spotlight of the Arena this evening, and Ernie Paterson had the task of running the rule over the finalists. After two overseas winners on day one, Ernie picked the first UK bred dog to go through to Best in Show when he chose Ch/Am Ch Afterglow The Big Tease, the Standard Poodle owned by Mr J Lynn of Preston, Lancs and handled by Mike Gadsby.
After a busy day of judging in Halls 4 and 5, the Best of Breeds in the Toy group then entered the ring. The Toy dogs may be the smallest entry at the show and several of the smallest dogs on show, but what they lack in size they more than make up in character. Having been a magistrate for ten years, judge Tom Mather is used to making careful deliberations and tonight was no exception. After a good look along his shortlist, Tom plumped for Queen Bless JP Royal Connection, a Papillon owned by J Roosens and E Abeloos-Devos from Dilbeek in Belgium.
Earlier in the day, the Arena hosted a variety of other dog disciplines for a large and appreciative audience to enjoy. There were lots of thrills and thankfully few spills in the Agility competition and the start of the Cani-Cross Canine Cross Country race. In the press office we particularly enjoyed the Heelwork to Music competition, which was won with a fabulous routine by Tina Humphrey and her dog Bluecroft My Blue Heaven to add to their triumph in the Freestyle competition the day before.
Someone else who is proving a great success in the Arena is Crufts commentator Peter Purves. Peter took time out from his busy reporting schedule today to pop into the press office to present a special award to Kate Nicholas and her dog Gin, who took the ITV programme Britain’s Got Talent by storm last year. It was great to see one experienced TV star handing on the baton to a potential star of the future.
And talking of TV stars, our favourite story of the day involves encountering a celebrity making his first ever trip to the show. A BBC TV crew was busy filming an item for the Politics Show when they encountered a certain Michael Barrymore and decided to ask him a few quick questions. Their opening gambit was “So, what made you come along today then, Michael?” – to which he replied “Because you lot aren’t showing it on the telly.” Touche!
If, like Michael, you’ve always relied on the TV for your fix of Crufts, or just fancy something a little more sociable than sitting in front of your computer all day watching the coverage, then why not come along to the NEC and experience this marvellous show for yourself. You too should ‘strike it lucky’ and have a fantastic day out. Hope to see you all tomorrow dog lovers.