British Racing stars that shone at the BBC Sports Personality of The Year Awards

Features | 18th December 2023

Racing has had a long association with the glittering annual sporting celebration. Some of the most memorable moments in the history of the prestigious awards have centred around racing. 

Frankie Dettori is the latest horseracing star to make the shortlist for the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year Awards. Here we look at some of the sport’s personalities – equine and human – that have made a big impression at the much celebrated awards ceremony.

Frankie Dettori

It’s not the first time racing’s greatest showman has made the shortlist. Frankie was nominated in 1996 a few months after riding his famous ‘magnificent seven’ at Ascot.

Becoming the first jockey to ride all seven winners at a single meeting propelled him from racing personality to worldwide sporting celebrity.

His record-breaking feat on Queen Elizabeth II Stakes day led to the public voting him into third place behind motor racing star Damon Hill in the 1996 SPOTY awards. Now, 27 years later, he is making sure racing is represented on the shortlist yet again.

Frankie needs your support so please get voting once the in-show announcement is made on Tuesday 19th December from 7pm on BBC1. 

AP McCoy

It took an extraordinary sportsman to give racing its first BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

AP McCoy, undoubtedly the greatest jump jockey of all, was voted the winner of the ceremony’s top honour by the public in 2010. It was the same year he finally landed the Grand National.

The world-famous Aintree prize had proved elusive for the 20-times champion jockey but he filled the one lingering gap on his astonishing CV when guiding Don’t Push It to victory around the iconic course.

The SPOTY honour was just reward for one of the most talented, dedicated and humble athletes to grace any sport. AP also finished third in both 2002 and 2013.

In 2015, the year he retired from the saddle following a peerless career, he again appeared on stage at sport’s traditional end-of-year celebrations. This time he was presented with the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award. A few weeks later he was knighted in the New Year’s Honours.

Hollie Doyle

Ever since she rose to prominence in the Flat jockeys’ ranks, Hollie has been breaking records.

In 2020, she enjoyed a stunning year. She bettered her own record tally of winners for a female jockey, rode a Windsor five-timer, secured her first Royal Ascot victory and landed her first Group 1 win when Glen Shiel gave her a superb Champions Day double.

Racing had known all about her talents but now the rest of the sporting world was taking notice.

Hollie was named Sportswoman of the Year by The Sunday Times in December, just before it was revealed she had made the shortlist for the BBC SPOTY award.

Racing united to support its heroine and she was voted into third place behind Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton.

Rachael Blackmore

Few jockeys are lucky enough to ride the winners of jump racing’s three greatest prizes. The Champion Hurdle, Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National trophies are reserved for only the very best.

For a woman to join the likes of AP McCoy, Ruby Walsh and Barry Geraghty would’ve been almost unthinkable just a few years ago. That was before Rachael Blackmore came along.

Her Grand National success on Minella Times combined with the first of Honeysuckle’s two Champion Hurdle victories, saw the Irish jockey recognised with the prestigious World Sport Star of the Year award at the 2021 BBC Sports Personality of the year ceremony.

It was the same year she picked up the RTE Sports Person of the Year title and just a few months before A Plus Tard completed her trio of top prizes in the Gold Cup.

Tom Marquand

Winning the Champion Apprentice title as a fresh-faced teenager saw Tom make the shortlist for the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year in 2015.

He went on to become one of Britain’s top jockeys, winning races across the globe.

Of course, he is now married to Hollie Doyle, who made the shortlist for BBC SPOTY in 2020.

Red Rum

Special mention must go to Red Rum. Many racing personalities have attended the prestigious awards ceremony but none more memorable than the three-times Grand National winner. He was the star of the show when he appeared live in the studios in 1977 alongside his trainer Ginger McCain.