Spoty: Lewis Hamilton in pole position with Doyle only woman on shortlist

Spoty: Lewis Hamilton in pole position with Doyle only woman on shortlist

Lewis Hamilton is the overwhelming favourite to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award for a second time after being named on the six‑strong shortlist, with Tyson Fury and Ronnie O’Sullivan seen as his closest contenders.

The jockey Hollie Doyle is the only woman on the list of contenders, which contains the fewest number of female sports stars since the controversial all-male shortlist in 2011 – a reflection of how much women’s sport has been pushed to the margins during the pandemic.

Jordan Henderson, the Liverpool captain who lifted the club’s first league title for 30 years, and the England cricketer Stuart Broad, who became the second England bowler after Jimmy Anderson to reach 500 Test wickets, also feature.

Hamilton, who won the award in 2014 and has finished in the top three a record five times, is as short as 1-7 with the bookmakers after winning his seventh F1 title.

Fury, who retained his WBC heavyweight title by knocking out Deontay Wilder, is the second favourite, slightly ahead of O’Sullivan, who won his sixth world title at the Crucible.

A head and shoulders pic of Hollie Doyle after winning a race at Pontefract in October

Doyle, who broke her own record for the number of winners ridden by a British woman in a year in 2020, said she was delighted at being shortlisted.

“It is a huge privilege to be nominated for such an illustrious award,” she said. “It’s hard to get my head around being nominated alongside the likes of Lewis Hamilton, but I’m really pleased that horse racing has been recognised alongside these sports.”

The 24-year-old, who also rode her first Royal Ascot winner and became the first woman to ride five winners on the same card at odds of 899-1 at Windsor in August, said: “Racing can be in its own little bubble as such, so hopefully this might help to open the door to a wider audience.”

Sir Anthony McCoy, who was the last jockey to win the BBC award in 2010 and was honoured with a lifetime achievement award in 2015, also paid tribute to Doyle.

“Hollie has got on with her job quietly, confidently, and successfully. She seems more interested in walking the walk than talking the talk,” he said. “She lets her achievements do the talking and there’s a lot to learn from Hollie. She keeps her head down, she works hard and understands the need to make herself better all the time.” The winner will be announced on 20 December.