The most valuable Flat handicap ever staged in Europe, next month’s £1million Sky Bet Ebor at York, has attracted 81 entries.
John Gosden, who took the prize last summer with Muntahaa, has four possibles for the Knavesmire on August 24 – including the sponsors’ 12-1 joint-favourite Ben Vrackie.
The four-year-old just failed by a short head to peg back Baghdad in the Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap at Royal Ascot, and Mark Johnston’s charge is also in the list to re-oppose at this stage.
Gosden also has First Eleven – who gained an automatic place when landing the second contest in Sky Bet’s “Race to the Ebor” series – Royal Line and last year’s runner-up Weekender.
The other 12-1 joint-favourite is William Haggas’ Raheen House, and the same trainer has also put in Dramatic Queen, Al Muffrih and Big Kitten.
One of the least exposed names among the entries is Deja, trained by Peter Chapple-Hyam.
Formerly with Jeremy Noseda, the Phoenix Thoroughbred-owned colt caught the eye on his 2019 return at the start of this month when decisively landing a 12-furlong Polytrack handicap at Kempton.
Chapple-Hyam said: “I was very pleased with Deja at Kempton. He is an improving horse who has not had many outings, but I hope he will be streetwise enough for a race like the Sky Bet Ebor.
“Whether or not he runs again before the Ebor will depend on what is left in and how the race is shaping up between now and then. I don’t think he needs to have another run, but we will see.
“He is effective over mile and a quarter and a mile and a half, and I don’t see a mile and six furlongs being a problem either.”
Also among the high-quality entry are Tim Easterby’s Wells Farhh Go and Karl Burke’s Old Newton Cup scorer Kelly’s Dino.
There are 16 Irish-trained entries – including seven from Willie Mullins, who landed the Ebor in 2009 with Sesenta.
His team is made up of Max Dynamite, Thomas Hobson, Buildmeupbuttercup, Uradel, Stratum, True Self and Exchange Rate.
Other Irish-trained contenders include Joseph O’Brien’s 2018 Irish Derby hero Latrobe, Dermot Weld’s recent Sandown Listed scorer Falcon Eight and Jarlath Fahey’s Sea The Lion – who was third last year.
Among other eye-catching entries are Alan King’s Who Dares Wins and Karen McLintock’s Dubawi Fifty, first and second in the Northumberland Plate, and Sylvester Kirk’s Group-race regular Salouen.
Weights will be revealed on July 24, and the maximum field is 22.