Welcome to the final night of Crufts 2012 and, as the Four Seasons put it, oh what a night! The world's greatest dog show reached its glittering finale this evening in the NEC Arena in Birmingham with a series of spectacular events culminating with the awarding of the ultimate prize in the world of dogs – Crufts Best in Show.
Just seven dogs had made it this far, from over 21,000 which have competed over the last four days in the hope of being crowned top dog. Earlier in the evening, the last two groups were judged to provide the two dogs to complete the final line up.
Last year's Best in Show judge, Paolo Dondina returned once again, this time to judge the Terrier group and he chose the Norwich Terrier, Ragus Merry Gentleman owned by Mrs L Crawley and Mr M Oddie from Selby in North Yorkshire after he had earlier been chosen as Best of Breed by another former Crufts Best in Show judge, Peter Green from the USA.
Last but not least was the Hound group and judge Keith Thornton selected the Borzoi, Ch Rothesby Sholwood Snow Hawk, owned by Sue Carter from Newark in Nottinghamshire.
The man with the extremely difficult task of selecting the overall winner was experienced judge and long time Crufts commentator Frank Kane. Frank swapped the microphone for a place centre stage in the Arena to cast his eye over the final seven dogs - an eclectic mix of shapes, sizes and styles. From the tiny Pomeranian to the gentle giant of a Newfoundland, and with a home favourite from down the road in Coventry up against dogs which had travelled from as far afield as Slovakia and Hungary, the final symbolised the sheer variety of dogs which Crufts attracts.
As the clock ticked towards 9pm, Frank made his final decision and awarded this year's Crufts Best in Show award to the local heroine, the Lhasa Apso, Ch Zentarr Elizabeth, which was bred, owned and handled by Margaret Anderson from Coventry.
Immediately prior to Best in Show, two other great Crufts favourites thrilled the packed crowd in the Arena. Mary Ray gave her now trademark Heelwork to Music routine before actress Jennifer Saunders presented the absolutely fabulous Friends for Life competition winner announcement. The public have been been voting for which of five fantastic tales of dog companionship, bravery and support should take this prestigious title and they chose Buster, an RAF dog owned by RAF Police Sergeant Michael Barrow who recently retired after serving five tours of duty. Buster collected his award alongside Flight Sergeant Phil Brown as Michael is again away on a tour of duty.
Among the other winners in the Arena this evening were the Wales team which had triumphed in the Obedience World Cup earlier in the day, and Racquel Colaco from Portugal who triumphed in the International Junior Handling Final.
With so much taking place in the evening programme alone, there's hardly time to tell you about the rest of the day, but there was yet more star support in the Arena earlier in the day in the inimitable form of Paul O'Grady who helped the East Anglia Staffordshire Bull Terrier Display Team with their fast and fun performance. Sadly the man who once claimed to have been crowned Miss Pears 1959 narrowly missed meeting the lady who actually did win that coveted award that year, the Kennel Club's own Sue Sampson!
There's only one prestigious prize we should finish this final show report from Crufts 2012 on though, and that is of course Best in Show. On behalf of the Kennel Club, let me raise a glass to this year's winner Elizabeth and her owner Margaret and congratulate them on their wonderful win. Until next year, goodbye!