Money has continued to pour in on Hollie Doyle to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award on Sunday evening.
The record-breaking rider was the general 9-4 second-favourite on Friday afternoon – having been a 33-1 chance when betting opened on the announcement of the six nominees. Formula One star Lewis Hamilton is the 2-5 favourite.
Naomi Lawson, of Great British Racing who have been behind a campaign to push Doyle’s claims, said: “It’s all very exciting, and I think it shows the feeling within the industry for Hollie.
“It’s an honour to be shortlisted in the first place, but now everyone is getting behind her for Sunday.
“The fact she’s the only woman on the shortlist will appeal to a lot of people, and she’s such an inspiring story because – while it has been a meteoric rise – it is based on the back of really hard work.
“Another great part of the story is just how starry-eyed both she and Tom (Marquand, partner) are. There’s that good story of how they basically won Champions Day between them, carried four trophies to their car and just burst out laughing.
“What she has been saying lately is that, while this has been an amazing year, she doesn’t want it to be the best she ever has – and that shows her ambition.”
Doyle has used Guy Jewell as her agent since 2015, and the partnership seems destined to last a lot longer yet.
“I’m immensely proud of Hollie – she has a fantastic work ethic and is an absolute pleasure to work with every day,” he said.
“Together we set two targets this year – to ride a Group winner and to ride 100 winners again. She reached both of those and so much more, which shows just how far she has come.
“I was delighted when she won the Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year award – which is a huge achievement in itself – and to be nominated for BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year is massive for racing and testament to all she has achieved this year. I’m just glad those achievements are being recognised, and hopefully everyone votes for her on Sunday.”
Billie Thomas, who teaches at Radnor and Hereford Pony Club and taught Doyle to ride, aged eight, said: “Hollie has always been very dedicated, and she used to help her brother out a lot.
“From a young age, Hollie was good at cross-country and mounted games, but racing has always been in her blood. We used to have races around the fields, and she just loved it!
“Hollie was so kind and helpful with new members of the Pony Club, and I think this is something that has carried through to her career.
“She has always shown determination and patience and from a young age learnt to ride young and novice horses, which has helped make her into a good rider.
“I am very proud of what she has achieved so far, and she is a great role model for women in sport.”