Immediately after riding his 200th winner of the season on 7 February 2015, AP McCoy announced that he was to retire at the end of the season. He was suddenly installed as clear favourite for SPOTY (best priced 10/3 currently).
It is easy to see why as he won the award in 2010 and finished third in 2013. He is also widely considered a sporting legend as he will have been champion jockey in all 20 of his years as a professional, a feat which may never be repeated.
The problem is I think there is some doubt as to whether he will actually be nominated for the shortlist come November.
These days a panel decides upon the shortlist. A panel that includes some members of the BBC. It could well be the case that he will be pencilled in for the Lifetime Achievement Award. I am not sure simply retiring from the sport, which will happen in April, will be enough of an achievement to warrant being nominated.
In 2010 McCoy won the National – and he may do again – in which case he would probably be on the shortlist and probably win the whole thing again. However, his likely horse is around 8/1 to do so and this may overestimate its chances.
In 2013 McCoy, at the time of the shortlist was announced, had just a few weeks previously ridden his 4,000th winner. This year, I have a feeling, if he doesn’t win the National, that by November, his retirement will be far from most people’s minds with a whole summer of sport, and a new National Hunt season without AP, fresher in the memory.
I wouldn’t be surprised if McCoy was on the shortlist but I think there is enough doubt that I have been laying him in the place market at about evens. I will be looking to do so further as publicity increases around Aintree and his retirement. I will be covering by backing AP in the National. If he doesn’t win the National, I can see his SPOTY price drifting over the summer and the opportunity to lock in some profit.
His price in the outright market may also mean there’s some value elsewhere and in my next post will make some selections.