Varsity calendar kicks off with new sporting rivalry
For the first time, Oxford and Cambridge will pit their finest riders against each other at Newmarket.
The historic sporting rivalry between Oxford and Cambridge is taking a new twist this autumn as student riders will go head-to-head in the first ever Varsity Flat-Race at Newmarket’s historic Rowley Mile course on Dubai Future Champions Day – 17th October.
Sporting competition between the two seats of learning has been a feature since the first annual Boat Race in 1829 but the universities have never faced one another on the racecourse. This is about to change when five riders from each team will don their distinctive blues in the last of seven races at the historic home of horseracing.
Seven riders from each University are now undergoing training at the town’s British Racing School and Oaksey House in Lambourn in order to prepare them for the rigours of race riding over eight furlongs at the Rowley Mile.
Student Harry Beckett, who first conceived the idea, commented: “I’ve spent two years trying to get this race off the ground so I’m delighted to see it come to fruition. I sincerely hope that this is just the start of a real connection between racecourses and students.
“There are so many people I would like to thank for making this happen and fingers-crossed it will become an annual event.”
Oli Lawrence, captain of the Cambridge team, said, “I am honoured to be captaining the first ever horse racing team for Cambridge – it’s brilliant addition to the existing varsity sporting competition.
“I hope all my fellow students get behind us and come along to support this event.”
Early murmurings from within the camp suggest that Cambridge have the upper hand after a haphazard performance by Oxford in the practice runs earlier this week.