Horse Racing becomes a Varsity sport

Image credit: Great British Racing - Oli Lawrence

The rivalry between Oxford and Cambridge has found a new arena, as the first ever Varsity Flat race has been confirmed.

The unprecedented Horse Race will take place on Newmarket’s historic Rowley Mile course on 17th October 2014.

Whilst the Varsity Boat Race has been in existence since 1829, this is the first time the two universities will meet on the turf. Five riders from each institution will don the distinctive Light and Dark Blue colours and take to the course. Seven riders for each university are currently undergoing training.

Oli Lawrence, the captain of the Cambridge team and Earth Sciences student at Gonville and Caius College, said “I am honoured to be captaining the first ever horse racing team for Cambridge – it’s brilliant addition to the existing varsity sporting competitions and one that hopefully will be part of history for years to come. I hope all my fellow students get behind us and come along to support this event."

Chief Executive of Great British Racing, Rod Street, echoed this saying: “We hope students turn out in force to cheer on the riders and take advantage of the amazing free entry offers at Newmarket and Ascot.”

The idea was conceived by student Harry Beckett, the son of racing manager Lord Grimthorpe. “I’ve spent two years trying to get this race off the ground so I'm delighted to see it come to fruition.” he said. “I sincerely hope that this is just the start of a real connection between racecourses and students”.

The 1m flat race is part of a wider effort to attract more students and young adults in racing. Other schemes include free entry to Newmarket on the day of the Varsity match (Dubai Future Champions Day).

Final racing selections from the seven riders in training will be made in October.

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