SALOUEN tops the weights for the first £1m Sky Bet Ebor after 56 horses stood their ground at the five-day confirmation stage for Europe’s richest handicap.
Sylvester Kirk’s five-year-old, fourth to Enable in last month’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, was left at the top of the weights on 9st 10lb for York on Saturday after they went up 3lb because of the absence of Communique and Latrobe.
Salouen has form at the top level and was only narrowly denied by the Frankie Dettori-ridden Cracksman in last year’s Coronation Cup at Epsom.
Ante-post favourite King’s Advice is among the hopefuls, and Mark Johnston’s prolific winner is guaranteed a place in the maximum 22-runner field. The Middleham trainer also has Baghdad, Charles Kingsley and Making Miracles in the list.
Roger Charlton’s Withhold, who made a triumphant return at Newbury five weeks ago after a 269-day lay-off, is one of many more smart performers hoping to chase this big pot.
Last year’s runner-up Weekender is one of three acceptors from the John Gosden stable, along with Royal Line and Ben Vrackie.
Among other leading fancies are the Tim Easterby-trained Wells Farhh Go – the Great Habton trainer is hoping to win the race 40 years after his father Peter saddled Sea Pigeon to a famous victory – Ed Dunlop’s Red Verdon, Richard Hannon’s Raymond Tusk and the William Haggas-trained Raheen House.
Ireland’s champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins has Max Dynamite, True Self, Stratum, Uradel, Buildmeupbuttercup and Exchange Rate.
Final declarations are made at 10am on Thursday.