Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

Dunwoody ‘to fall at first hurdle’ in Strictly Come Dancing

Richard Dunwoody and Lilia Kopylova during the dress rehearsal for tonight's edition of the BBC entertainment programme Strictly Come Dancing

Retired jockey Richard Dunwoody is the bookies’ favourite to fall at the first fence this weekend in Strictly Come Dancing.

According to Betfair, the three times champion jockey from Co Down is the most likely contender among the second batch of dancers to be thrown from the saddle, with odds of 6-4.

Jo Wood and partner Brendan Cole are the closest couple in danger at 5-2.

Ricky Whittle, who spent most of his teens living in Northern Ireland, is the favourite to win at 5-2.

Betfair spokesman Michael Robb said: “Dunwoody is the current favourite to go but the betting suggests it’s not clear cut. It does, however, look like it’s one of either him or Jo Wood.”

The odds might see him in a precarious position, but Dunwoody is hoping to prove the punters wrong by fitting in some extra bonding time with dance partner Lilia Kopylova. Dunwoody has turned the tables on his Strictly co-star by introducing her to his way of life.

The sportsman has reversed the roles by bringing Lilia out and teaching her how to ride a horse.

The pair were spotted enjoying the countryside at Wimbledon Village Stables in London last week, where they embarked on a cross-country trek by horseback. Dunwoody is the first jockey to foxtrot across the Strictly dancefloor and is hoping that — with the luck of the Irish — he will make it all the way to the final.

He said: “The one great thing about this show is that you are learning a new skill, which really sets it apart from many other shows on TV.”

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