Updated: Friday, 22nd August 2014 @ 6:18pm

Crufts 2012: Coventry crowd spur home favourite to Best in Group victory on day one

Crufts 2012: Coventry crowd spur home favourite to Best in Group victory on day one

By Ben Baker

There was plenty for the home crowd to cheer about on day one of Crufts as Coventry’s Margaret Anderson and her seven-year-old Lhasa Apso, Elizabeth, came away with Best in Group in the Utility category.

Elizabeth, one of 26,000 healthy, happy dogs at Birmingham’s NEC, had already fought of competition from 165 other Lhasa Apso’s to win Best in Breed.

But she wasn’t finished there, going on to win the coveted Best in Group in the face of 28 other Toy breeds to go into Sunday’s Best in Show final.

Mrs Anderson has been coming to Crufts for 35 years, winning Best in Breed last year too, but with this year’s adventure still not over she admits 2012 has been the best yet so far.

“Winning the group at Crufts is amazing,” she said. “I do not know if I have the words to say just how good it feels.

“It is amazing, there were so many fabulous dogs in that group, I can’t put it into words and am absolutely speechless.

“It is very exciting to come back on Sunday and to be in the final of Best in show at Crufts.

“I shall thoroughly enjoy it but with an open mind. She will be well rested and we will just enjoy ourselves and hopefully win the main prize.”

While the first major award of Thursday had a very local feel to it, the Best in Group award for the Toy category had a distinct international flavour.

Dreamer, a year-and-a-half-year-old Pomeranian, picked up the award for Swedish owners Fredrik and Mikeal Nilsson, making the long journey to the West Midlands well worth it.

“It feels wonderful to have won best in group,” said 38-year-old Mikeal. “I just wanted to win but there were many nice dogs in there but I really wanted to win.

“Dreamer did very well, he is a young dog and has not been in any big shows before so it was a really good start for his career.

“It is very exciting to come back on Sunday and I hope to win. He will have everything else as normal. We will try to do everything as normal, to stick to the routines.”

Watch this space for more Crufts news this week.