LITESPORT London Lite Wednesday, 1 July 2009 41 JOHN OXX last night backed his dual Classic hero Sea The Stars to defy the stats anoraks in Saturdays Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown. The last four Derby winners to attempt the Epsom-Sandown double Erhaab (1994), Benny The Dip (1997), Motivator (2005) and Authorized (2007) have all been beaten. But Oxx is confident Sea The Stars, who landed the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket before his Derby triumph, can buck the trend as he tackles a mile and a quarter for the first time. Those statistics dont worry me too much, the Currabeg trainer said. The two recent Derby winners that got beaten there were both sons of Montjeu who were trying to come back in distance and prove something. A Guineas winner coming back to the Eclipse hopefully that will be a different story. Nashwan coming back didnt have any worries, and Dancing Brave won the Guineas, got beaten in the Derby but came back and won the Eclipse. Mill Reef would have won a lot of 2,000 Guineas races, won the Derby and was able to come back and do it, so at the minute Im not worrying about that statistic at all. Oxx, forced by soft ground to withdraw Sea The Stars from Sundays Irish Derby at the Curragh, believes the Eclipse trip will be perfect for his son of Cape Cross. If hes won at the two distances either side of it, youd imagine that in between should be perfect, he added. After 14 horses stood their ground at yesterdays five-day entry stage for the Eclipse, Coral list Sea The Stars as their evens favourite. Conduit is 3-1, with Rip Van at 9-2. Dont worry, naughty Fred wont be late for the Ashes Oxx is confident star performer can eclipse the rest have to look at his body shape to know that hes put in a hell of a lot of hard work. And hes desperate to do well in the Ashes. Clearly,allof thoseattributesshould applytoeveryEnglandcricketerburst- ing to play in next weeks opening Ashes Test at Cardiff. Yet Strauss revealed that Flintoff is not alone in having been disciplined this summer for bad time-keeping. There have been a few instances recently,admittedStrauss.Alotof it is maybe not putting enough thought intohowimportantitisforthings to start on time, for buses to leave on time and that sort of stuff. Ithinktheplayersunder- stand we dont want to see any more of it. Although Strauss insisted theFlintoff incidentwas not a big issue, he would have wanted to spend yesterday dis- cussing the impor- tance of a match against Warwick- shire rather than answering ques- tions about time- keeping and his all-rounders drinking habits. He said: Were not happy having to deal with this sort of matter and we dont need distractions like this. Atthesametime,Fredhasbeenbril- liant around the guys since he came backandishighlymotivated.Ifheneeds anymoremotivationthiswillhopefully provide it. Dropping someone is an optionforanyonewhoislateagain,but Im certain it wont come to that. Whateverhappensthisweek,though, most cricket-lovers in England will hopeFlintoff willshrugoff thecurrent row -- as well as the ankle and knee problems which have plagued him for years -- to batter the Aussies as he did in 2005. Fredisalwaysunderpressurewhen hecomesbackandIfeelforhiminthat respect, said Strauss. Hes made out tobethesaviourof Englishcricketand I would like to take the pressure off him. ElevenTestplacesarestill upforgrabs,saysPonting CAPTAIN Ricky Ponting insists there are no certainties for a place in the Australia test side, just a week before the first Ashes Test in Cardiff. Ponting (left) was caught by Vikram Solanki off the bowling of Graham Onions for just just one as he lead his side in todays match against England Lions at New Road with off-spinner Nathan Hauritz and pace bowlers Brett Lee and Stuart Clark battling to prove their credentials. Ponting said: The important thing now is that there are absolutely no certainties for the first Test right at this moment. We are still a week or so from Cardiff, and lots of things can happen and change in that period of time. The spots are still up for grabs. thingsforisitimportanthowinto tobusesfortime,onstartto sortthatandtimeonleave under-playersthethinkI seetowantdontwestand insistedStraussAlthough wasincidentFlintoffthe heissue,biganot towantedhavewould dis-yesterdayspend impor-thecussing matchaoftance Warwick-against thanrathershire ques-answering time-abouttions hisandkeeping stillareplacesTestEleven Pontingsaysgrabs,forup aforcertaintiesnoarethereinsistsPontingRickyCAPTAIN Ashesrstfithebeforeweekajustside,testAustraliatheinplace Cardiff.inTest Ponting todaysinsidehisleadheasonejustjustforOnionsGraham off-spinnerwithRoadNewatLionsEnglandagainstmatch ClarkStuartandLeeBrettbowlerspaceandHauritzNathan credentials.theirprovetobattling aretherethatisnowthingimportantThesaid:Ponting moment.thisatrightTestrstfitheforcertaintiesnoabsolutely Bells offering the Australians a real ding-dong battle AXED Test batsman Ian Bell wants his England Lions team to maul the Australians over the next three days at Worcester. And the last thing he wants is to give the Aussies a comfortable ride as they complete their preparations for next weeks opening Ashes Test in Cardiff. We want to play aggressively and put a marker down as to the kind of state English cricket is in, said Bell, who lost his Test place during last winters tour of West Indies. Thats the kind of mentality we want to play with -- to be positive with bat and ball. Thats the kind of message we want to send to Australia. Whatever happens at Worcester, England are unlikely to stray far from the eleven currently playing against Warwickshire at Edgbaston when they finalise their team for Cardiff. But the likes of Bell, Steve Harmison, Graham Onions and Adil Rashid can keep their names firmly in the frame for later this summer with some eye-catching performances. The good thing with the England team at the moment is that there is competition for places in all departments and this is another opportunity to come out and show that, said Bell. Lions leader: Ian Bell in Worcester last night before Englands second string take on Australia Out in front: Sea The Stars starts favourite at Sandown after Derby winHigh stakes: trainer John Oxx BY GEOFF TEATHER index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html40.html41.html42.html43.html