Sir Anthony McCoy's Blog: 1st December
Sir Anthony predicts the top three for BBC Sports Personality of the Year and whether he thinks Colin Tizzard can challenge for the trainers' title
This year's shortlist for BBC Sports Personality Of The Year is missing two big names. I think Chris Froome would be a worthy challenger, as would world title winning boxer Carl Frampton, but neither have been nominated. Froome has now claimed three Tour de France titles, yet Sir Bradley Wiggins won one and was crowned Sports Personality.
Is Murray a shoo-in? I'd say so after the year he has had. Winning Wimbledon, Olympic gold and reaching world number one in the Djokovic/Federer/Nadal era is a phenomenal achievement. I think Nick Skelton can get in the places at Sports Personality as the cycling vote could be divided. Although there are plenty of Olympians and Paralympians for people to choose from, Nick will have the whole equestrian world behind him and rightly so. What an achievement to win Olympic gold at his age. I think Nick could finish in the first three and maybe Jason Kenny as well, although his other half Laura was just as impressive and, if I may say so, a lot more attractive!
AP McCoy's 2016 Sports Personality Of The Year Prediction:
1 Andy Murray
2 Nick Skelton
3 Jason Kenny
BBC Sports Personality Of The Year betting, plus SPOTY 'without Andy Murray' market:
There's been some good racing recently and I was at Newbury for Thistlecrack's win. I don't think anyone can form an opinion as to whether he is a good or bad jumper while he's been going around at 1/7 and 1/8 in novice chases. He might be better in a more competitive race, he might be worse. I probably wouldn't run him in the King George. Why would you when the Feltham is a much easier race for him and if he got round, there's a very good chance he'd win? You couldn't say the same about the King George as it's a tough race.
I don't think Thistlecrack deserves to be Gold Cup favourite at this stage, it has to be Cue Card on what they've achieved so far. Thistlecrack could win a Gold Cup, but would I be backing him at the moment? Not a hope in hell. If I was choosing who to ride in the Gold Cup, Thistlecrack has potential while Cue Card is a proven horse. I'd probably go for Cue Card but after Thistlecrack has another go I might change my mind. He could easily be a better horse than Cue Card. The way he won the World Hurdle, he could be as good a novice as Coneygree was.
Most of the best jockeys have won a Hennessy and Richard Johnson has now joined a club that I'm not a part of. I never won the race, but Richard gave Native River a very good ride. It's all very well niggling them along, but it's about keeping them in the race without bullying them or forcing them too far out of their comfort zone, ensuring they have enough in reserve to come home in the finish. That's the whole art of riding, finding a happy medium so you don't do too much or too little and Richard did the job well.
Colin Tizzard has had a brilliant start to the season with the likes of Thistlecrack, Cue Card, Fox Norton and now Native River, but I doubt he can beat Paul Nicholls to the title. If Willie Mullins struggled to beat Paul when he had seven or eight winners at the Cheltenham Festival, I don't know how Colin is going to do it. He's not going to have as many winners at Cheltenham and three of his top contenders might all be running in the Gold Cup. If he won the Grand National, then obviously that would put him in the mix, but that race requires a lot of luck.
Paul Nicholls might not always have a Kauto Star, a Masterminded or a Denman, but last year he managed to win the Championship without a stable star. It's all about clever placement for Saturday races. The perfect example is winning the Fighting Fifth with a yoke like Irving, no disrespect to him. To win a second Fighting Fifth with him is a brilliant training performance. I think Paul Nicholls will win the trainers' title purely because of his ability to find Saturday races with good prize money and come out on top with a horse that isn't necessarily the best in the race.
It's the Tingle Creek this weekend and Willie Mullins must think Un De Sceaux has a good chance of winning as he's pulled Douvan out of the race. Sire De Grugy got back to a good standard at Ascot and listening to Gary Moore, it sounds like Ar Mad will improve for the run. It would be great to see Sire De Grugy win.
It's a shame Douvan skips the race. I think if you could choose one horse in training to own, it would probably be him. It's a huge comparison, but there are similarities with Kauto Star. Douvan has the talent to win over 2 miles and 3 miles and he could be even better over the longer trip. Brilliant champions like Kauto Star and Desert Orchid are capable of doing that. Exceptional horses can win over any distance and make no mistake, Douvan could be exceptional. I'd love to own him!