Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Tony McCoy Favourite for Sports Personality of the Year

After the great white sporting hopes of the British Summer crashed and burned yet again, what seemed cruelly unthinkable last year is looking increasingly more like it might actually happen.

Wayne Rooney not turning up at the World Cup and Andy Murray proving that he just isn’t good enough yet again have meant that one man has now gained a clear lead at the head of the market for the 2010 Sports Personality of the Year.

The man in question is no stranger to being favourite in betting markets because that man is Grand National hero and Horse Racing legend & gentleman A.P. McCoy.

I argued McCoy’s case for a nomination last year with passion and vitriol was spat at anyone that disagreed; I even wrote an entire article for this site explaining why this great ambassador for the sport of Horse Racing deserved to be crowned Sports Personality of the Year, as if his 3000+ winners didn’t speak for themselves.

That’s right, last year McCoy rode his 3000th winner and he couldn’t even make the top ten for SPOTY. This year though thanks to him finally breaking his duck in the World’s greatest Horse race, the Grand National he has been firmly near the head of the market for the award since the greatest victory of his storied career back at the beginning of April.

And now with Britain’s more well know sportsmen continuing to disappoint and wallow in mediocrity, McCoy has been shortened to 2-1 favourite with William Hill to be crowned Sports Personality of the Year come December, with Andy Murray currently his nearest rival on 7-1.

Although I can’t forgive the BBC for ignoring McCoy last year – he should have won it, so the fact he wasn’t nominated is all the more insane – if A.P. were to take home the trophy this year it would be justice served.

It might be akin to Martin Scorcese getting his OSCAR for The Departed rather than his earlier classics but when it comes to Horse Racing in the mainstream we’ll take what we can get.

It’s sad that it takes McCoy succeeding in the one race of the year that attracts Joe Public in their droves to finally get the recognition he deserves, but I’m under no illusions that Racing is the red-headed stepchild of sport and this is the only way the public, and criminally, even the BBC would embrace National Hunt’s greatest jockey.

There’s no love lost between McCoy and me – his Grand National win still hurts today – but if he can pull this off it would be great not only for him but for the sport of Horse Racing in general, and so very richly deserved.

The problem McCoy has is that the British public are morons and their memories are short. Rightly or wrongly, his favouritism here is solely down to his Grand National win and that was back in April, some people will have already forgotten it, and December is still a long way off, even now.

The worry is that some other British sportsperson achieves something else before the end of the year that the glory-starved media and public latch on to – The Ashes and The Masters Golf are still to come this year – and if that happens you can bet your ass that McCoy will plummet quicker than water supplies in the North West.

Make no mistake Tony McCoy deserves this more than anyone, he is a model professional, a fabulous role model and a finer gent you will not find in sport but would I be falling over myself to back him at 2-1?

Hells no.

You’d be forgiven for thinking given what I have written above that I think this is a good bet.

On the contrary.

Given Horse Racing’s history of being overlooked at this awards show and given the British public’s propensity to vote like they’ve been lobotomised, 2-1 is an utterly ridiculous price.

I’d love to see justice finally be served and McCoy to win what might be his most important race this December but I’m too cynical and jaded to actually think it might happen.

They’ll probably give it Tom Daley – because he’s oh so cute.

Whether McCoy does finally attain the recognition outside of Racing that he richly deserves or not, he will always be considered a legend in the sport of Horse Racing were many people know him simply as ‘Champion Jockey’.


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