Newmarket to hold first Varsity Flat race

Cambridge Boat Race

The Boat Race is among the famous Oxbridge sporting rivalries

  PICTURE: Getty  

FOR the first time this year the famous sporting rivalry between the Oxford and Cambridge universities will include a horse race with a Flat contest set to be held at Newmarket on Dubai Future Champions Day on October 17.

The two universities, whose sporting challenges include the Boat Race along the Thames, will compete in a ten-runner contest sporting either the light blue of Cambridge or dark blue of Oxford.

The idea for the race came from Harry Beckett, son of Khalid Abdullah’s racing manager Lord Grimthorpe, who said: “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, as there is a real need for more sustainable investment.”

The Varsity race is part of a wider drive to involve students more in racing including free entry to Future Champions Day and Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot on October 18.

Rod Street, chief executive of Great British Racing, said: “This new race is a great innovation for racing and we’re delighted that the students at Oxford and Cambridge have embraced the idea with such enthusiasm.

“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.”

Seven riders from each university are undergoing training at the British Racing School in Newmarket and Oaksey House in Lambourn to prepare them for the 1m race. Final riding selections will be made in early October.


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