One of the most eagerly anticipated sporting contests of the year will take place in London this Saturday. The reputation of the country\’s two finest universities will be at stake as huge crowds flock to watch Oxford and Cambridge race for a place in the history books.
While the Boat Race happens over on the Thames, the real sporting drama will be in the annual Oxford and Cambridge Goat race at Spitalfields City Farm in East London.
The event, now in its third year, involves two goats named Oxford and Cambridge racing along a route through the farm. Anthony Goh, one of the founders of the race, told Cherwell that he was shocked at how popular the event has turned out to be.
\”It was just a conversation in a pub that went too far, and we ended up doing it. First year we had no idea what to expect and 300 people came along. Last year 1000 people turned up which was a bit too much considering we reached the farm\’s maximum capacity. So this year it is better organised – there will be better entertainment, market stalls and online ticketing.\”
Other events will also run alongside the main race this year. A Stoat Race, Nice Butt Contest and a How Low Can You Goat limbo competition have all been added to the schedule.
This Saturday will see a rematch of last year\’s race, with the same brother and sister pair of goats racing each other. Goh said that despite the family connection there is still a rivalry between the animals, which may even come close to that of the two institutions they represent.
\”The goats are sizing each other up already – there is a bit of tension in the paddock but hopefully there will be no punch up,\” he said
Male goat Cambridge took the honours in last year\’s event, matching his namesake\’s victory on the river. Goh was however unaware of any correlation between the results of the two races. He commented, \”to be honest I am so wrapped up in the goat race I don\’t actually notice who wins boat race.\”
One second year Oxford student claimed that he might be tempted to watch the race if it consisted of two sets of eight goats tied together, but this would contravene the farm\’s strict animal cruelty guidelines. Goh said, \”The farm is very big on ethical treatment, and we work very closely with them.\”
He added that the farm even scuppered the organiser\’s attempts to provide a prize for the winning goat, \”We had wanted to supply a bouquet of flowers for the winner to eat, except that the farm is suffering from an overweight problem so we\’re not allowed.\”
The glory of victory will therefore have to be enough for the winner of this unique sporting event.