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Pinatubo team wait on weekend workout

Charlie Appleby will make a decision after watching Pinatubo work at the weekend regarding his participation in the Qatar Prix Jean Prat at Deauville.

The Newmarket handler is leaning towards the seven-furlong Group One on Sunday week as the next target for last year’s champion two-year-old, who has met with defeat in both of his starts this season.

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Black Lives Matter: England players to have logo on shirts v West Indies

England will join West Indies in having a Black Lives Matter logo on their shirts for this month’s Tests.

CEO Tom Harrison said the England and Wales Cricket Board “fully support the message that Black Lives Matter” and “there can be no place for racism in society or our sport”.

He added: “Our support of that message is not an endorsement, tacit or otherwise, of any political organisation, nor the backing of any group that calls for violence or condones illegal activity.”

It is understood the England squad will not take a knee before the first Test at the Ageas Bowl next week.

Speaking on behalf of the England players, captain Joe Root said: “It is important to show solidarity to the black community and to raise much-needed awareness around the topics of equality and justice.

“The England players and management are unified in this approach and will use the platform of international cricket to fully support the objective of eradicating racial prejudice wherever it exists.”

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The ECB has taken a similar tone to the Premier League in distancing itself from suggestions it is endorsing a political movement.

The Black Lives Matter movement has led to global protests against racism and police brutality following the death in the United States of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, while a police officer knelt on his neck.

The Premier League has shown its solidarity, with players’ names replaced on the back of their shirts with ‘Black Lives Matter’ for the first 12 matches of the restarted season, and a Black Lives Matter badge will feature on all shirts for the rest of the campaign.

But while ‘Black Lives Matter’ has become the slogan behind the protests, Black Lives Matter also exists as a global organisation, founded in 2013, with several goals including to advocate against white supremacy and police violence towards black people.

A series of tweets from the Black Lives Matter UK account about Palestine at the weekend prompted criticism.

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England all-rounder Sam Curran goes into self-isolation

ECB holding its breath after all-rounder Sam Curran goes into self-isolation and takes coronavirus test following bout of vomiting and diarrhea ahead of first West Indies Test next week

  • England all-rounder Sam Curran’s health is said to have improved in the evening
  • But a positive coronavirus test would jeopardise the West Indies Test next week
  • The ECB were tight-lipped about the wider ramifications of a positive result 
  • The next round of coronavirus testing is currently scheduled for Sunday

English cricket is crossing its fingers after all-rounder Sam Curran went into self-isolation and underwent a Covid-19 test following a bout of vomiting and diarrhea inside the team bubble at the Ageas Bowl.

Curran’s health is said to have improved, but a positive result tomorrow would jeopardise England’s preparations for next week’s first Test against West Indies, who have been notified of the development.

The ECB were tight-lipped about the wider ramifications of a positive result, though Curran himself would begin seven days of quarantine, while the next round of testing – currently scheduled for Sunday – would almost certainly be brought forward.

England all-rounder Sam Curran has self-isolated following a bout of vomiting and diarrhea

Curran’s health is said to have improved ahead of the first Test against West Indies next week

All 29 squad members, plus the backroom staff, have been tested three times each since entering Southampton’s biosecure set-up on June 23.

Sources remain hopeful that Curran has succumbed to nothing more serious than a 24-hour bug. But the repercussions of a positive result – with team-mates forced into self-isolation less than a week before the start of the first Test on Wednesday, and inevitable questions about the viability of biosecure sport during a pandemic – do not bear thinking about.

The news overshadowed the second day of England’s practice match, though Somerset off-spinner Dom Bess made his case for inclusion against West Indies with figures of 20-6-60-2 as Ben Stokes’s team were bowled out for 233 in reply to the Jos Buttler XI’s total of 287 for five declared.

Sources are hopeful that Curran has succumbed to nothing more serious than a 24-hour bug

It overshadowed day two of England’s practice match where spinner Dom Bess shone

The 22-year-old Bess, who has played only four Tests, was England’s first-choice spinner during their 3-1 win in South Africa earlier this year, and insisted: ‘I want to push that spot and make it my own. The ball came out of my hand really nicely.’

Kent’s Zak Crawley top-scored with 43 on a sluggish pitch, while Stokes hit an attractive 41, including six over extra cover off Bess, before he was stumped off Lancashire leg-spinner Matt Parkinson. Mark Wood bowled with pace and hostility, while Sussex seamer Ollie Robinson produced a probing spell of 9-4-7-2.

Meanwhile, West Indies captain Jason Holder continued to struggle with the bat when he was dismissed for just two during his team’s rain-affected practice match in Manchester.

Holder, who promoted himself to open in a bid to spend time in the middle, has now scored seven runs in three innings ahead of next week’s first Test. He was watched by coach Phil Simmons, back in the team bubble following five days in self-isolation after he attended a funeral.

Ben Stokes hit an attractive 41 before being stumped off leg-spinner Matt Parkinson

Meanwhile, West Indies captain Jason Holder continued to struggle and made just two 

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Hackwood Stakes back-up plan for Judicial

The bet365 Hackwood Stakes is a back-up plan for Judicial if connections decide to sidestep the Darley July Cup at Newmarket.

The Group One on July 11 is an option for the eight-year-old after his victory in the Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle – but should that look too hot, Judicial may wait for the Group Three Hackwood at Newbury a week later.

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Phil Simmons permitted to rejoin West Indies training camp after negative coronavirus test

Phil Simmons rejoined the West Indies camp ahead of the final day of their last intra-squad match before next week’s first Test against England following his latest negative test for coronavirus.

The Windies head coach had been self-isolating in his room at the team’s on-site hotel at Emirates Old Trafford after leaving the bubble to attend his father-in-law’s funeral, returning last Friday.

He has watched the ongoing internal match from his balcony but his third negative result allowed him to interact with the rest of the touring party, and the Trinidadian led the warm-up session on day four of this practice match.

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Less than an hour of play was possible on Thursday morning because of heavy overnight rain, with Kyle Mayers’ counter-attacking 74 not out from only 56 balls ushering a Kraigg Brathwaite XI to 178 all out – having been 112 for seven overnight – in response to the 272 all out amassed by the side led by Test captain Jason Holder.

Before play, the Windies marked the passing of the great Sir Everton Weekes, who died on Wednesday aged 95, with a minute’s silence and wore black armbands when they took to the field.

Alzarri Joseph needed only three balls to claim his second wicket, trapping Marquino Mindley in front, but the fast bowler proved expensive thereafter as Mayers, resuming on 40 not out tucked into some short-pitched bowling.

He quickly went past his half-century and had no trouble rocking on the back foot and pulling Joseph, once way over deep square-leg’s head for the third six of the innings.

Keon Harding made a quick-fire 22 before being bowled by Kemar Roach while Chemar Holder slapped Shannon Gabriel for two fours, the second of which broke his bat.

The tail-end batsman received a fresh blade but it went unused as Gabriel disturbed the stumps from the very next ball to finish with four for 42 on a morning where the floodlights were once again being used.


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Frankie Dettori opens up on plane crash that nearly killed him

Frankie Dettori has opened up on the plane crash that nearly killed him 20 years ago.

Flat racing's three-time champion jockey was saved by his friend Ray Cochrane in the incident on June 1, 2000.

The plane nose-dived just after taking off from Newmarket Racecourse, killing pilot Patrick Mackey.

Cochrane, who suffered minor burns, pulled Dettori from the wreckage through the aircraft's rear baggage hatch.

“When I did come round after the crash and I was on the plane, I didn’t know if I was in the other side, in another world or in heaven," Dettori told the Don’t Tell Me the Score podcast.

"My mate dragged me out the plane and the plane exploded… twenty years ago I should have been dead.”

The crash happened just nine days before the premier race of the Flat season, the Epsom Derby.

On Saturday, Dettori seeks his third win in the race on the favourite English King, after it was delayed due to coronavirus.

On his 15th attempt, he finally triumphed on Authorized in 2007 and won it again in 2015 aboard Golden Horn.

Dettori, who celebrated 70 career winners at Royal Ascot last month, as well as scooping the leading jockey award, said the accident two decades ago made him look at things differently.

"It made me a bit more lazy, I think if I hadn’t had that crash I could have achieved a lot more in my career," he said.

"Now I enjoy life a bit more, I don’t care what people say so much…

"If it has changed me it’s made me a bit more laid back, I was a bit more focused and different before and I didn’t take too much time for life, I was a bit more tunnel-visioned."

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On what is a stellar weekend for horse racing, Dettori takes the reins on superstar mare Enable in Sunday's Coral Eclipse.

With earnings of more than £10 million, she races on for another season and will bid for a third Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in the autumn.

Dettori is not retiring any time soon either, after a career-best of 19 Group One wins in 2019.

He has insisted he will continue to ride on as long as he feels fit and able – and he has plenty more winning to do with Enable's trainer John Gosden.

Dettori turns 50 in December.

"I’m not ready for my slippers and pipe, not yet," he said.

"I work for a guy, John Gosden, who is a father figure.

"He’s a mate who uses me like Ferguson used to use Solksjaer… he puts me in at the last 20 minutes and I do the easy tap in goal!”

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Cricket Australia drop the English made Dukes ball from the Sheffield Shield

Cricket Australia has ditched the English Dukes balls and will stick with the Australian made Kookaburra for the upcoming Sheffield Shield season.

The darker Dukes ball, more prone to swinging, had been used in the domestic competition since 2016 in a bid to prepare Aussie batsmen for going to England.

It was used in the second half of each Shield season, producing mixed results.

But after the Aussies successfully retained the Ashes in England last year, CA has decided to end the experiment with feedback from players, which included criticism, that it took to long to deteriorate and favoured bowlers too much, contributed to the decision.

Former Test batsman and Queensland captain Usman Khawaja said the move was “good news for spinners”.

Peter Roach, CA head of cricket operations, said reverting to the traditional Kookaburra ball was the right move for Australian cricket at this time.
“The introduction of the Dukes ball has been a worthwhile exercise, particularly in the lead up to overseas Ashes series where the Dukes is used so well by our English opponents,” Roach said. “We have been happy with how the ball has performed when used in Australian conditions over the past four seasons.

“We do, however, feel that reverting to one ball for 2020-21 will provide the consistent examination of our players over a full season that CA and the States are presently seeking. The Kookaburra is the ball used for international cricket in Australia and many parts of the world and we see benefits this season of maximising our use of it.

“We have noted that spin bowlers in the Marsh Sheffield Shield have been playing less of a role in recent seasons, most notably in games when the Dukes ball is in use. We need spinners bowling in first-class cricket and we need our batters facing spin. We hope that the change to one ball with have a positive benefit here.

“We see a definite opportunity to reintroduce the Dukes ball at some stage in the future.”

Kookaburra balls have come in for much criticism in recent years for their lack of swing at international level, especially in the Test arena.

But the manufacturer said it would continue to “finetune our processes” to produce the best possible cricket ball for all formats.

Dilip Jajodia, the owner of Dukes ball manufacturer British Cricket Balls, had lobbied Australian officials hard to use his ball on a more permanent basis but said he understood the decision.

“Having the opportunity to show the quality of our ball in Australia’s premier domestic cricket competition has been a privilege,” Jajodia said. “We understand CA’s decision and are buoyed by the potential for the Dukes to return in future seasons.”

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Olly Murphy celebrates 136/1 four-timer as jump racing returns

Olly Murphy left no stone unturned at jump racing's comeback fixture as he celebrated a 136/1 four-timer.

Two of his Southwell winners, Hunters Call and Sangha River, returned to action with a vengeance to defy long absences.

The former's success after 921 days was extra special as his 2017 Grade Three success at Ascot came in Murphy's first season with a licence.

He had only been training a couple of months when the smart hurdler raced clear of Silver Streak and Verdana Blue – form well advertised by the pair since.

By the start of Southwell on Tuesday, Murphy had just brought his best horses back in to prepare for the new National Hunt season after the summer break.

Itchy Feet, Thomas Darby and Brewin'upastorm, who sports the same colours as this afternoon's winner Sangha River, were among them.

He took the second division of the novice hurdle after Enemy Coast Ahead built on his good reputation to win on seasonal debut.

“I said on the way here that if I had a winner I’d be delighted," Murphy said.

“The limelight is going to be on me today, but it should be on Southwell – they’ve had owners here and they’ve done a great job of the ground.

“It’s been an unbelievable day – four runners, four winners. It couldn’t be better.”

St Gallen (3/1f) completed the clean sweep for Murphy and was the second winner on the card for Richard Johnson, who was especially thrilled with Hunters Call.

"It was a long time off but he retains plenty of his ability and Olly has done a great job to get him back," he said.

"We didn't go very quick and he has won a decent handicap over two (miles), so he doesn't lack for speed and it probably played into my hands a little bit.

"These two (Hunters Call and Sangha River) especially today, you are nursing them back to get them to the racecourse and it's not as easy as it looks."

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The new season started in familiar fashion when Nineohtwooneoh struck for leading National Hunt duo Paul Nicholls and JP McManus.

Harry Cobden was in the saddle and Coral have cut his odds significantly for the 2020/21 jockeys' championship.

"Although Richard Johnson and Brian Hughes still dominate the jockeys' title betting, Harry Cobden has been the big market mover, from an opening 40-1 down to his current 12-1, and he wasted little time in getting off the mark by riding the first winner of the new campaign," said Coral's David Stevens.

There was also two winners on the day for Gloucestershire trainer Ben Pauling – Tel'art (5/1) and Sebastian Beach (20/1).

Before racing, jockeys observed a minute's silence to remember Liam Treadwell and Rose Paterson, much-loved members of the racing community who died last week.

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Mark Wood column: Life in England’s ‘sci-fi movie’

The bio-secure environment in Southampton, where we are preparing for the Test series against West Indies, feels a bit like a sci-fi movie.

When we first turned up, there was a huge tent outside the hotel, where we had to pass through to get our temperature scanned. We dropped our bags off so they could be sprayed before they were taken in.

Inside, there are no room keys – you open doors with an app on your phone. There is hand sanitiser at every turn, and on the floor there are arrows, lines and footprints to show the way to go. We fill in a health questionnaire each morning and take our own temperature before we go to breakfast.

When we use the lift, we press buttons with our elbows, and only four people can get in at once. In the lift, everyone turns out to face a different wall, which makes it quite difficult to have a conversation.

We have to wear our accreditation any time we are not in our rooms or on the training pitch. The accreditation has a chip that tracks your movements, so if anyone does get ill, we will know who they have been in contact with. Similarly, we wear face masks any time we are not in our rooms or outdoors.

At meal times, it is just like being back at school. We queue up (socially distanced, of course), and take a tray and cutlery that is wrapped in a bag. You move around and ask to be served the food you would like, then take it to sit at your own individual desk, looking at the back of the person in front.

  • Stokes to captain England in first Test
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If it sounds like I am painting a grim picture, that is not the intention, because I know we are very lucky to be here and we have all been looking forward to the chance to play cricket again.

To me, all the procedures we are going through are an extension to two of three pillars that the England team is built on: unity and respect.

Unity because we are all in this together, and respect because we take the precautions not just to keep ourselves safe, but also everyone else in the bubble.

Stokes loses his Formula 1 crown

Training days, which come two or three at a time, are busy. One half of the day is spent in the nets or on cricket skills, while the other half is in the gym.

It is the days off, or the evenings, that can be tough to fill. For that reason, we are lucky enough to have been given plenty of options for keeping entertained.

The nearby golf course is taking a battering. I am not much of a golfer – I usually only play once a year – but I have played three times in the past week alone.

I have tried to get the golf bug, but I think I am getting worse. I went for a ramble with Ben Stokes, and he gave me some tips that I was pleased with, only for my next round to be terrible. I just can’t get my head around how a professional athlete can hit one decent shot, then follow it with one that scuttles along the ground.

Away from the golf course, we have a pool table, a dart board and table tennis. We play a lot of cards, which gets quite competitive. Joe Denly is the scorer and usually the winner. Work that one out.

The thing attracting the most attention is the Formula 1 simulator, which is lifelike down to the seat, steering wheel and pedals.

You might remember that Stokesy was involved in a race during lockdown, so he knows how to set it up to make the car go faster. He put his lap time up as the one to beat, but he has now been topped by the Overton brothers. From my experience, driving an F1 car in a face mask can get a bit heated.

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Bowling bouncers at my team-mates

On the field, we have gradually built up the intensity towards the three-day practice match, which starts on Wednesday.

On the one hand, it will be strange trying to get up for an internal match in an empty ground, but, on the other, there are 30 players vying for a spot in that Test side.

As a fast bowler, part of my armoury is being aggressive, trying to rough up the opposition. Would I be comfortable trying to do that to my England team-mates in this situation? Probably not, but if the captain or coach asks me to, then that is what I will have to do.

I would rather look at it as an opportunity to experiment with the skills that I have been learning during lockdown, but I have also got to remember that there are Test spots up for grabs and I want to give the best account of myself. If I get hit for a couple of fours, I am sure the competitive juices will flow.

There has been a lot of talk about Stokesy being captain in the first Test, with Joe Root missing out to be at the birth of his second child.

I am one of the few people who have actually played under Stokesy, back in our days on the Durham academy.

He was a good skipper back then, leading from the front, just like he does now. As the years have gone on, he has matured into a senior player, setting the example and dragging people along with him.

He has a good cricket brain and, even though he does not have much captaincy experience, he will have seasoned players like James Anderson and Stuart Broad around to bounce ideas off.

Stokesy won’t not just tell people what to do. He knows that players are individuals, so he will treat them as such. That said, he is also very honest, so he won’t be afraid to tell it straight if someone is not pulling their weight or sticking to a plan.

He will do a brilliant job.

Mark Wood was talking to BBC Sport’s Stephan Shemilt.

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Franconia set for Musidora Stakes at York

Franconia, who broke her maiden in Listed company at Newbury last month, will head for the Musidora Stakes at York next week.

The Group Three is normally one of the best trials for the Oaks – but in this coronavirus-affected season, it will take place after the Classic.

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