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The 161st Boat Race: Which team will get to throw their cox into the water?

Murder, mystery and intrigue. It’s all here in the Boat Race. Sorry, I meant water there and not murder, but you’re here now so you might as well read on!

by David Lyons | April 9, 2015

What a weekend for sport! The Masters, the Grand National and the 161st Boat Race between Oxford University and Cambridge University. The biggest sporting event where the true meaning of “If you’re not first, you’re last” comes to the fore.

15 million people tune in, and a further 270,000 line a stretch of the Thames in the hopes of not only catching a glimpse of the winning team, but also to get on the next Eastender’s intro.


Since 1829, the record stands at:

  • 81 Cambridge wins
  • 78 Oxford wins
  • 6 Sinkings
  • 2 Mutinies
  • 1 set of twins who got $65m from Mark Zuckerberg
  • 1 Dead heat

The dead heat happened in 1877 and was presided over by John Phelps, the race judge. Now it probably wasn’t the best idea to use a race judge who was over 70 and blind in one eye.

We’ve tested out that theory using the patented ‘I’m on the toilet and I forgot my phone’ thought process. So I give you the ‘Paddy Power Blog’s Science 101’ class.

Open both eyes. Now ‘point’ with your left and right hands. Hold your hands out in front of you and touch the tips of your ‘pointing fingers’. Now close one eye and see if you can do it… aaaand you can’t! Mind blown? Let’s move on.

Landmark Spots:

  • Putney Bridge – The start.
  • The Black Buoy – It’s actually yellow. Don’t ask.
  • Craven Cottage – the home of Fulham FC.
  • Hammersmith Bridge – 85% of boats leading at this stage have won
  • Barnes Railway Bridge – 95% of boats leading here go on to win. Only once since 1945 has a team come from behind to win; Oxford in 2002.
  • The Mortlake Brewery – just a quick one?
  • Chiswick Bridge – The finish. 100% of boats leading at the finish have won.

Drowned in history and elitism, the Boat Race has had its fair share of mutinies – a smaller one back in 1959, but the one in 1987… well, in the words of Kevin Keegan during his rant, “I’ll tell you what”. Books were written and a film was made! Madness.

Some Looney Tune decide to swim between the two boats in 2012 to protest “the erosion of civil liberties and bla bla bla”. Cambridge ended up winning that one, but onto more important things…

Sinkings! Is it wrong to think “There hasn’t been one of these in a while…”? We’ve had six, with the last one happening back in 1984. But with Cambridge, the Light Blues out for revenge after their 11 stroke defeat last year…


Hard to believe that this all started because of a challenge between old school friends. Shame none of the other college games became as big. The classics like beer pong and who can pull the most, affectionately known as ‘Beat the slapper’.

Oxford are 1/4 favourites to win the race for the third consecutive year, and they’re targeting their sixth victory in eight.

Cambridge are 11/4 outsiders for Saturday’s race, while if you fancy only the second ever dead heat to be in the 161st Boat Race, that’s at 80/1.

  • Get all the odds on sinkings, winners and more here on Desktop | Mobile

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