A dark horse to consider

Sep 10, 2009 by

A dark horse to consider

Not wanting to blow our own trumpet – well, maybe a little – but Jessica Ennis’s chances of winning BBC Sports Personality Of The Year received a massive boost this week following Andy Murray’s early exit at the US Open, and only a Jenson Button Formula 1 world championship success would appear to stand in her way.
Ennis supporters need to ask themselves if there’s anyone else lurking among the sporting fraternity who could derail her. There’s a chance three cricketers could appear among the 10 shortlisted names following England’s Ashes success with Flintoff, Strauss and Broad all in the running, Of those three Freddy’s iconic status give him the stronger claims but a split vote is likely to count against all three.
Cyclists Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins could make the list following their impressive exploits in the Tour De France, but I’m still not seeing a viable challenger to Ennis here.
Amir Khan became world light welterweight champion back in July while heavyweight boxer David Haye fights for the WBA title in November. Even if successful it’s hard to see him mounting a challenge. The same applies to triple jumper Phillips Idowu who lacks Ennis’s x factor as the new golden girl of British athletics.
It’s a market that really only has appeal from an each way perspective now, and trying to find a contender who might place at long-ish odds. British diver Tom Daley is an interesting dark horse after his win in the 10-metre platform event at this year’s world championships. As is Beth Tweddle, who will lead Britain’s hopes of gold at next month’s World Artistic Gymnastic Championships.
The angler Bob Nudd was notoriously denied victory in the 1991 S.P.O.T.Y. award after winning the public vote, the Beeb deeming the election campaign run by fishing bible. the ‘Angling Times’ – which saw him amass over 100,000 votes – against competition rules.shutterstock_28772407v3
It would be easy to see the horse racing industry launch a similar initiative in support of National Hunt jockey Tony McCoy. McCoy’s Herculean exploits in the saddle are the stuff of jump racing legend, and he set a new benchmark in an already stellar career, by becoming the first jump jockey ever to ride 3,000 winners at Plumpton back in February.
On the assumption the same fate doesn’t befall him as Nudd, the greatest jump jockey in the history of the sport really should make the final ten and it would only require a segment on the night showing the gruelling demands made by the sport, to see McCoy make the podium.

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  1. Lewis

    Would be a travesty if Button wins the gong, even if he secures the World Championship. He’s palpably not the best driver in the world – just benefitted from having the superior car for the first 7 races…

  2. Trebor

    With Murray bundled out of the US Open this looks like fantastic advice now. Just wish I had seen this a month ago. I would have snapped up some of the 12s on Ennis myself!!

  3. Phil

    None of the major candidates have a huge media profile except perhaps for Flintoff but he didn’t have an outstanding series. However, he may get sympathy votes as has retired from test cricket & is the most recognisable person amongst the general public. Maybe shades of 1990 when Gazza won the award as the icon of the England football team that reached the semi-finals of the World Cup (despite the fact that Gary Lineker would also have also attracted many votes)?

  4. Lady Margaret

    No chance of Button winning it IMO and quite right too.

    McCoy is an interesting shout and definitely a worthy candidate given his record but I don’t think he has enough appeal.

    A jockey would probably need to be the housewives favourite to garner enough votes SPOTY – Frankie if he was classed as English and had ridden another seven-timer for example.

    What about Sea the Stars if he wins the Arc?

    Best horse for 25 years? Should be in with a shout!

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