Hollie Doyle capped a memorable year as she took third place behind Formula One ace Lewis Hamilton in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award at MediaCityUK in Salford.
It is a huge achievement for the record-breaking Doyle to go so close in the coveted prize from a shortlist of six from the world of sport. Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson finished runner-up.
The racing industry’s campaign in getting behind Doyle’s bid helped raise her profile with the general public for an award that has only gone to racing once, when Sir Anthony McCoy won in 2010. In the past week her odds tumbled from 25-1 to 3-1.
It has been a remarkable 12 months for the 24-year-old, who broke her own best for the most winners in a calendar year by a female jockey before enjoying a Champions Day double at Ascot – including her first Group One aboard Glen Shiel in the British Champions Sprint.
Earlier in the campaign Doyle claimed her first Royal Ascot success on Scarlet Dragon and rode fives winners on a card at Windsor in August. She has since taken part at the Breeders’ Cup in America and became the first female to ride a winner in the Longines International Jockeys Championship in Hong Kong a couple of weeks ago.
Doyle’s outstanding achievements had already been recognised with several awards – as the Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year, the Sports Journalists’ Association Sportswoman of the Year and Flat Jockey of the Year at the HWPA Derby Awards.
Asked about the key to her success on the show, she said: "I'm a horse lover - I love the bond between horse and rider and it's something that gets me out of bed every day, the love of horses. Being brought up around them is a huge bonus, I can't get enough of them.
"I know this year's been incredible but I don't want this to be my best year. I want bigger and better things - any sportsperson who gets a taste of success wants more so I want to keep the revs up and keep ploughing on."
And a tip for those who would love to succeed her? "Just believe in yourself, keep your head down and work really hard and just keep going,"she said.
McCoy paid his own tribute, saying: "Hollie's a worker, she's a grafter she puts in the hard hours which it's all about to try and get to the top. Her stats are phenomenal, she's top class, she's got it all. Having watched her for the last year there is a realistic chance she could be a Champion jockey."
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