Leander secured a notable victory against Oxford University over the Boat Race course on Saturday, taking a half length verdict in a race from Putney to Chiswick Steps.
The race will have put confidence in the Leander crew, who will be looking for another win ahead of 360 crews in the Head of the River Race next weekend Saturday.
But the race will have done little to help Oxford, who are looking to reach their season’s peak on Easter Sunday, when the bookies have Cambridge as favourites.
Leander won the toss and chose the Surrey station, forging out a strong lead and almost breaking clear of Oxford inside the first minute. But the Dark Blues came back on the inside of the Middlesex bend, and Leander had just half a length at the Mile.
Some aggressive steering saw a clash of blades, with Leander’s Tim Clarke briefly losing control of his oar. As his crew spurted to make up time following the recovery and maintain the edge, Oxford had to work hard around the outside of the Hammersmith bend at 36 strokes a minute, against Leander at 35, and began to close as the crews approached Chiswick Eyot.
With the end in sight Oxford wound it up to 39, but Leander saw them off at 40 and reached the Steps half a length up.