Britain looks forward to damp Derby

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The Independent Online
ANOTHER PACKED weekend of action of the sporting summer opened yesterday, with the running of the Oaks at Epsom and the crucial Super Six game of the cricket World Cup between India and Australia.

The classic race was won by Ramruma, the second favourite, marking the sixth triumph in the event for the trainer Henry Cecil, while the Oval witnessed a different kind of animal involvement, when two pigeons were killed by the ball in the space of 10 minutes. Clearly unperturbed, Australia went on to win the game by 77 runs.

Epsom will today see the running of the Derby, the season's top flat race. But recent downpours have so softened the turf that it is tipped to be the most wide open in years. Rain is forecast for today, making things even more confusing for bookies and punters alike. About pounds 15m will be bet on the race.

One runner, Saffron Walden, has been so heavily backed in its namesake place that bookmakers in the Essex town stand to lose a fortune if it wins the race. The town council, however, has promised a civic reception.

Cricket action will continue when South Africa play Pakistan at Trent Bridge today.

But the biggest TV audience of the day will for England's footballers, playing the vital European Championship qualifier match against Sweden at Wembley.

The international is the first since Kevin Keegan took over as England's full-time coach.