Hugh Lowther, the Yellow Earl, was a flamboyant figure who took his entourage everywhere in a fleet of canary Daimlers. While he was admin- istering his Cumberland and Westmorland kingdom which included the substantial puddles of Haweswater, Grasmere and Windermere he also developed the reputation as England's greatest sportsman. Lowther's legacy are the belts uniquely given to enduring boxers, and a race for two-year-old fillies at the Knavesmire, both of which carry elements of his name.
The Lowther Stakes has provided future domestic Classic winners such as Humble Duty, Enstone Spark and, three years ago, Harayir. Today's cast includes Embassy and Shuhrah, who hold high rank in the ante-post market for the 1998 1,000 Guineas, but even shorter than them is Cape Verdi, 12-1 for the Classic with Coral.
Defeat was not considered an option for Peter Chapple-Hyam's filly at Royal Ascot, but she ran into Central Park in the Chesham Stakes. As that winner has since landed Goodwood's Champagne Stakes and Cape Verdi (2.35) is worth another chance.
The day's Group One race began life at York as the Nunthorpe Selling Stakes in 1903, when two-year-olds received generous allowances and generated spectacular gambles. Since 1922 the race has been a conditions event and the Nunthorpe Stakes has developed into the leading five-furlong contest in the country.
The most interesting runner today is Mind Games who returns to the racecourse after covering 62 mares in his first covering season. It was discovered that once the five-year-old had finished his post-activity cigarette he became rather bored with his lot, which just goes to prove that even the best jobs can become wearisome after a while. It may be though that Mind Games' mind may be on games of another nature when the stalls open and a conspicuous fact is that no animal has ever returned from the boudoir to win a Group One race.
It looks best to rely on the favourite, Compton Place (3.10), the mount of one of the nation's most industrious jockeys, Seb Sanders.
There are possibilities too about Wasp Ranger (next best 3.45), but the bet of the day is CELESTIAL CHOIR (nap 2.05), who won today's race 12 months ago and is just coming to the boil judged on her Pontefract success two weeks ago. The mare worked with yesterday's Ebor winner Far Ahead on Saturday and gave him a stone and a half and a beating. Get on.