Jockey Hollie Doyle has been shortlisted for this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Doyle is the only woman to be named on the shortlist for the prestigious award alongside Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, cricketer Stuart Broad, Liverpool football captain Jordan Henderson, boxer Tyson Fury and snooker star Ronnie O’Sullivan. The winner will be announced on Sunday 20th December as part of a special televised broadcast.
Doyle, who was named 2020 Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year just last week, has enjoyed a sensational year, adding numerous accolades to her already illustrious CV.
The 24-year-old broke her own record set in 2019 (116) for wins achieved by a woman during a calendar year in Great Britain and is currently on 136 wins for 2020. She also finished fourth in the 2020 Flat Jockeys’ Championship, the highest ever placing by a woman and became the first woman to ride five winners on the same card at odds of 899-1 at Windsor in August.
Earlier in the year she enjoyed her first ever Royal Ascot winner, joining the roll of honour with Gay Kelleway and Hayley Turner as only the third woman to win at the meeting. Furthermore, she dominated Britain’s most valuable raceday, QIPCO British Champions Day in October, emerging as the leading rider on the day with two winners and two second places, having clinched her first ever Group 1 winner (the highest level in racing).
By setting example for women in horseracing and paving the way for women in sport, she has earned her place on the shortlist and is in the running to be the first woman to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year since Zara Tindall (Eventing) won in 2006.
On being shortlisted Hollie, who is an ambassador for Sky Sports Racing said: “It is a huge privilege to be nominated for such an illustrious award.
“It’s hard to get my head around being nominated alongside the likes of Lewis Hamilton, but I’m really pleased that horseracing has been recognised alongside these sports.
“Racing can be in its own little bubble as such, so hopefully this might help to open the door to a wider audience.”
“She lets her achievements do the talking”
Sir Anthony McCoy who won BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2010 and was honoured with a lifetime achievement award in 2015 said: “Hollie has got on with her job quietly, confidently, and successfully. She seems more interested in walking the walk than talking the talk.
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. Honestly, I’m a little bit jealous of her. A thoroughly deserved nomination.”
“She is rapidly becoming a role model for young people and women in sport”
Zara Tindall MBE who won the award in 2006 said: “It is such a fantastic achievement for Hollie to be shortlisted for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Hollie’s talent and hard work has placed her among the best in her sport.
She has had an amazing year and is rapidly becoming a role model for young people and women in sport as she breaks records and gains well-deserved recognition in racing.”
Alongside her victories on the racetrack, Hollie this year fronted Great British Racing’s Just Jockeys campaign calling for riders to just be called jockeys, as per their male counterparts.
Speaking about the Just Jockeys campaign Hollie said: “We compete against men every day and we’re equals on and off the track. It is important for horseracing and for setting examples for other sports that this is recognised, and we are referred to as jockeys rather than ‘female’ jockeys.
The Lambourn based jockey added: “Just Jockeys recognises that all jockeys have the same skills and are equally as driven. There have been a lot more women competing in the sport professionally in recent years and I think that the wider industry has realised that, if given the opportunity, women are just as good as men and our gender should not come into the equation.”
“She could easily be a champion jockey”
Three-time Champion Jockey and racing legend Frankie Dettori said: “She could easily be a champion jockey, why not? She is riding really well and is riding the crest of a wave. To be the first woman to win five races on a card speaks volumes of her talent in the saddle.”
Data shows that over the past five years women in horseracing have continued to excel in one of the few sports in which men and women compete as equals. From 2015–2019 there has been a 76% increase of winners achieved by women across Jump and Flat racing, with a 79% rise from 316 to 567 winners on the Flat during the period and a 68% rise in Jump racing, from 139 winners in 2015 to 234 winners achieved by women last year.
As well as a significant increase in the number of winners, there has been a 26% rise in women holding a professional (rather than amateur) jockey license since 2015, indicating more opportunities existing in the sport.
How to Vote
BBC Sports Personality of the year will air on BBC One on Sunday 20th December and voting will be open to the public during the programme. You can vote by phone or online on the night for the main award, with full details announced during the show. For more information see https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/sports-personality/55101008
Main photo courtesy of Ascot Racecourse. Text and video courtesy of Great British Racing.