Twenty-times champion National Hunt jockey AP McCoy is to be honoured with the lifetime achievement award at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.

AP will be presented with the award in Belfast on Sunday night (20 December). The awards will be shown live on BBC One from 6.50pm-9pm.

AP McCoy bowed out of racing at the 2014-15 National Hunt season finale at Sandown in April after two decades at the top of his game.

Despite missing out on victory on his final day in the saddle, AP finished third on his last ever ride and retired on a total of 4,348 winners.

“To be receiving the lifetime achievement award is a big highlight of what has been an incredible year,” said AP. “It’s a huge honour and I’m thrilled to be accepting it so close to home in Belfast. I’m looking forward to what will be a very special night.”

In 2010 AP became the first jockey to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award — the year in which he won the Grand National on his 15th attempt aboard Don’t Push It.

He secured more than 40% of the votes ahead of darts player Phil Taylor and heptathlete Jessica Ennis.

In 2013 he finished third in the SPOTY race, behind tennis star Andy Murray and rugby player Leigh Halfpenny.

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“A previous Sports Personality of the Year winner and widely regarded as one of the greatest jockeys of all time, AP was the biggest superstar of racing until his retirement this year,” said Barbara Slater, director, BBC Sport.

“It’s an honour to celebrate his illustrious career in Belfast, Northern Ireland, his home nation, with the lifetime achievement award.”

AP is one of just four equestrians to have won the award — David Broome in 1960, Princess Anne in 1971 and Zara Phillips in 2006.

Charlotte Dujardin finished fourth last year, despite a huge push by the equestrian industry and an army of dressage fans.

Earlier this month fans were surprised not to see the AP on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year nominees list — and now it is clear why.

The shortlist for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award includes cyclist Lizzie Armitstead, footballer Lucy Bronze, heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill, athlete Mo Farah, cyclist Chris Froome, boxer Tyson Fury, F1 driver Lewis Hamilton, tennis star Andy Murray, swimmer Adam Peaty, athlete Greg Rutherford, rugby league player Kevin Sinfield and gymnast Max Whitlock.

The winner will also be announced on Sunday.

Apprentice jockey Tom Marquand is one of three finalists up for Young Sports Personality of the Year, the winner of which will also be revealed on the night.