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The UK's top sports stars hoping to add the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award to their trophy cabinets.

People will be able to vote for the sportsman or woman they think should win after the show starts at 7pm on BBC1, live from Birmingham.

This year's stand-out favourite is AP McCoy, who finally won the Grand National this year on Don't Push It. The 36-year-old has been champion jockey a record 15 times in a row and has ridden more than 3,000 winners.

Graham Sharpe from bookmaker William Hill said: "This year's award has really struck a chord with punters, and with the racing industry getting behind McCoy's cause we have seen a wholesale gamble on Tony McCoy winning.

"If he does we face a six-figure hammering, but as Tony is such a great ambassador for racing, and therefore betting, we won't be unhappy to pay out. One online McCoy fan has gambled the biggest ever Sports Personality bet of £7,000 on McCoy at odds of even money."

Coming up behind the jockey in the list of favourites are golfer Graeme McDowell, who became Europe's first US Open champion for 40 years when he won his maiden major title at Pebble Beach, and darts player Phil Taylor, who collected six majors this year, including the World Championship, Premier League and World Matchplay crowns.

Outside bets are Amy Williams, Britain's first individual Winter Olympics gold medalist for 30 years, Lee Westwood, the world's number one golfer, heptathlete Jessica Ennis, cricketer Graeme Swann, 16-year-old diver Tom Daley, cyclist Mark Cavendish and boxing heavyweight David Haye.

Former England captain David Beckham is to receive the BBC Sports Personality Lifetime Achievement award. The midfielder is 35 and still plays professional football for US side Los Angeles Galaxy. He is England's most capped outfield player and won six Premier League titles and the Champions League with Manchester United. In 2001 Beckham was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

At the end of a year in which England football fans expected so much from the national team at the World Cup in South Africa, there are notably no footballers on the shortlist.

Last year the award was won by Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs.


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