The 12 nominations for Sports Personality of the Year were made public yesterday and Wimbledon champion Andy Murray looks a certain winner at just [1.03] to back. Ralph Ellis has found a dark horse - or should that be jockey - in the contest for second place.
"The coverage of his achievements has shown a human side. He’s revealed the problems he and his wife Chanelle had trying to start a family because too many hot baths and saunas in the daily battle to keep his weight down had damaged his fertility. It’s reminded everybody too of the incredible bravery of jump jockeys, and the catalogue of injuries they all have to ignore on a daily basis."
This column does not normally do racing tips. I did once spend a great Gold Cup day at Cheltenham and backed See More Business at the princely price of 33-1, but by and large the Sport of Kings has passed me by.
It's not taking too much of a risk, however, to suggest that AP McCoy could well have another double on his hands today. He rides Gate Please in the 13:10 at Fontwell, and will then hang around at the course in Sussex all afternoon before getting on the back of Rouquine Sauvage in the 15:50. Both, I'm reliably informed by friends who do spend hours studying the detail of such things, will start as favourites. There's every chance, then, that by this evening McCoy will have ridden the 4,017th winner of his incredible career.
Like everybody, I was entranced by the day he got to 4,000 winners on the back of Mountain Tunes at Towcester. Several of the top sportswriters had trailed round lowly racecourses for a few days waiting to file their piece when he reached the milestone. There were beautiful words, great pictures, nice television interviews.
But what impresses me about McCoy, who let's not forget will be celebrating his 40th birthday in May, is not so much that he got to 4,000, but that he's already way past that. In its way his 4,001st winner was even more impressive than the historic ride on Mountain Tunes. It happened just two days later, in the 12:20 at Wincanton.
Now I don't know if you've ever been to Wincanton, but it couldn't be described as glamorous. I had an uncle who lived nearby and did pore over the formbooks to back horses, so we went several times together. Most of the crowd never turned up as early as 12:20. Yet there was McCoy, two days after all the celebrations, back to business, earning his living at the coalface of his sport.
If you're wondering where this is leading - and you'd be entitled to ask because Betfair employs plenty of people who do know what they are talking about when it comes to horse racing - the answer is that when the list of Sports Personality of the Year nominations came out yesterday, McCoy's name was the one that leapt out.
Yes, I know Andy Murray is the obvious winner. But at [1.03] he's not really worth backing. What interests me is the Winner without Murray market, and in that one the man who is nailed on to be champion jockey for the 19th time in a row looks a value bet at [5.9].
The coverage of his achievements has shown a human side. He's revealed the problems he and his wife Chanelle had trying to start a family because too many hot baths and saunas in the daily battle to keep his weight down had damaged his fertility. It's reminded everybody too of the incredible bravery of jump jockeys, and the catalogue of injuries they all have to ignore on a daily basis.
At the moment Mo Farah [1.74] and Chris Froome [5.0] are leading the way, but just as McCoy wins horse races by moving through the field at the last moment so he can come galloping up on the rails in the SPOTY voting too.