When it seemed like one of the greatest sporting weekends of 2015 couldn’t possibly get any better, along comes the news that the 161st Boat Race is being held on Saturday to send an already spoilt set of fans further into rapture.
The Grand National, the Masters and the Manchester Derby are all sure to be set in stone in the schedules of the armchair viewer over the course of the weekend, but there is certainly room to fit in one of the great British traditions along the way.
Renewal of varsity rivalries on the London waters always attracts a fair crowd and the narrowing gap between Oxford and Cambridge’s respective success in the race makes this no less of an occasion as summer approaches.
Cambridge leads the overall head-to-head with 81 wins to Oxford’s 78, but it’s the Dark Blues’ 10 wins in the last 15 editions which has really given this age-old contest a renewed bit of bite.
Last year’s race certainly helped in that respect too, with Oxford easing to an 11-length win. The victory was the University’s second in a row and was their largest winning margin since an eight-length triumph in 1981. The contest wasn’t without its controversies, however.
In the early stages both boats veered towards the centre of the River Thames, receiving a warning from the umpire. The inevitable clash that followed broke the rigger of Cambridge’s Luke Juckett, bucking him from his seat and dunking his upper torso into the water.
By the time he had regained his composure, Oxford had gained an unassailable lead. Five Light Blues return on a revenge mission this year, including Juckett.
With the race close at the point of contact, nobody could have predicted how tight the end result would have been without Juckett’s dip. To that end the 7/4 available on Cambridge ending Oxford’s supremacy looks to be a sound investment given their likely added motivation.
Oxford, who have four men with previous Boat Race experience among their number, are understandably 2/5 favourites considering their recent success.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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