Group-race performer Salouen tops the weights for the first £1million 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 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.
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.
Johnston also has Baghdad, Charles Kingsley and Making Miracles in the list.
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, Ed Dunlop’s Red Verdon, Richard Hannon’s Raymond Tusk, William Haggas’ Raheen House and Mekong from Sir Michael Stoute’s stable.
Willie Mullins is set to lead the Irish challenge for honours. The Closutton handler has Max Dynamite, True Self, Stratum, Uradel, Buildmeupbuttercup and Exchange Rate.
Other Irish trainers represented are Ger Lyons with Mustajeer, Aidan O’Brien with Cypress Creek and Fozzy Stack with Carlo Biraghi.