McCoy: Murray hard to beat

Tony McCoy believes Andy Murray is a worthy favourite for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year title.

The winner of the annual award will be announced on Sunday evening in a live celebration of the sporting year at the First Direct Arena in Leeds.

Murray is the long odds-on favourite to lift the prize, but McCoy is next in the betting ahead of the likes of dual World and Olympic athletic champion Mo Farah, Tour de France winner Chris Froome and sailing great Sir Ben Ainslie.

McCoy was crowned SPOTY back in 2010 after securing a first Grand National win on Don't Push It and his 4,000th career win this season helped propel him onto the shortlist this year.

While the Ulsterman is simply delighted to be nominated, he thinks Murray is the obvious choice of winner.

He said: "It was great to be nominated again and a nice surprise, to be honest, as I wasn't expecting it. Hopefully it will be a good night and I'm looking forward to it.

"I think everyone who has been nominated deserves to be there. Andy Murray is the obvious one, becoming the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years, which is a fantastic achievement.

"Everyone thinks Andy will win it, and probably rightly so, but it's great to be part of it again and I'm sure it will be a good evening."

McCoy's 4,000th career win aboard Mountain Tunes at Towcester last month is a feat unlikely to be surpassed any time soon and the 39-year-old fully admits his pride in the landmark.

He said: "I said at the time it was the first time in my life I felt really proud of what I've achieved as it is something I feel I've worked pretty hard for.

"It was nice to achieve it, but now I'm just glad it's out of the way and I'm glad I can concentrate on the racing with some of the better races coming up."

Murray is the 1/16 favourite for the title with Coral, but has been the subject of a minor drift having previously been a 1/20 shot.

McCoy has been clipped a couple of points into 14/1 for the honour, with bookmakers dreading a surprise victory from the star of the National Hunt scene.

"Andy Murray was the punters' favourite when he became Wimbledon champion earlier this year, but very few of them have been tempted to play up their winnings on the Scot winning a first Sports Personality of the Year award, and maybe his decision not to be there in person will cost him crucial votes," said Coral's David Stevens.

"With over 4,000 winners to his name, AP McCoy has also cost the bookies millions over the years, and he'll cost us even more if he is crowned Sports Personality for a second time on Sunday night."