University Boat Race 2019 – Rowing Odds April 7

Cambridge hot favourite to open up Boat Race gap on Oxford

Aged 46, James Cracknell will become the oldest man in history to crew in the University Boat Race this weekend.

Cracknell, a double Olympic gold medallist, is a mature student at Peterhouse College, Cambridge. A six-time world champion, he won Olympic gold in both the 2000 Sydney and the 2004 Athens Games alongside former Dark Blue, Sir Matthew Pinsent, who will umpire Isis Goldie this year.

Rowing alongside Cracknell in the Cambridge boat will be stroke Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk, Freddie Davidson, Sam Hookaway, Callum Sullivan, Dara Alizadeh, Grant Bitler and bow Dave Bell. Matthew Holland will cox the Light Blues. Including those with dual nationalities, there are 12 different countries representing Cambridge this year so it will truly be a multi-cultural effort if they manage to reach the finish under Chiswick Bridge ahead of the Oxford boat.

There are eight nations represented in the Oxford boat and their average height and weight is almost identical to that of Cambridge. Charlie Pearson will bow and will row alongside Patrick Sullivan, Achim Harzheim, Ben Landis, Tobias Schroder, Felix Drinkall, Charlie Buchanan, Augustin Wambersie. Toby de Mendonca is the cox. They are a much younger crew so experience will likely come into play.

Cambridge won last year’s men’s race to extend their overall lead to 83-80 in the 190-year history of the event with the only dead-heat so far coming in 1877, before the days of the photo-finish. The Boat Race is contested over 4.2miles of the River Thames between Putney Bridge and Mortlake.

Boat race

University Boat Race History

First contested in 1829, the original boat race took place at Henley-on-Thames when Cambridge wore pink instead of their traditional light blue. The second race didn’t take place until 1836 and races were irregular over the next 25 years as arguments over venue were commonplace – Oxford preferred Henley and Cambridge had more success when the race took place between Westminster and Putney. It wasn’t until 1856 that the University Boat Race became an annual event and the existing course was adopted in 1864. The Cambridge boat has sunk three times and Oxford twice but mild weather and light winds are forecast this year so, barring collisions, there should be no mishaps this time.

BRApproximately a quarter of a million spectators line the banks of the Thames to watch this annual nod to the days when young men still dreamed of empires and the promise of an unexplored world. Some would argue that it’s an outdated tradition but it’s still a spectacle, even if advertising hoardings and not chaps twirling their caps make up most of the backdrop nowadays. The crews will draw their ‘station’ on the morning of the race and will start off on either the Middlesex or Surrey bank of the river.

Cambridge are a best 1/3 with Coral to repeat last year’s win and the same firm are offering 150/1 that there is only the second dead-heat in history – the Dark Blues of Oxford are a best 3/1. The women’s race will precede the men’s race this year by approximately one hour.