Summerghand leads a mammoth 163 entries for the Virgin Bet Ayr Gold Cup after the five-day confirmation stage.
The popular seven-year-old sprinter David O’Meara must carry a 5-pound penalty for winning the Listed Hopeful Stakes at Newmarket last month.
The outpost favorite for Saturday’s famous handicap is Great Ambassador, who also received a 5-pound penalty following his victory in the Garrowby Stakes in York – another Listed event.
His trainer Ed Walker could be two if Popmaster is among the 25 guaranteed to run at the 48-hour final declaration stage. There are the silver and bronze cups for those below the handicap.
Michael Dods would love to see rain to help the cause of Commanche Falls. The four-year-old has been shortlisted for this race since winning the Commissioners Cup at Glorious Goodwood.
“We will have a lot of entries but we are looking at the pitch,” the County Durham coach told Racing TV.
“Rain is forecast for Friday, so we think Saturday could be a pretty nice pitch.
“We will have Commanche Falls in the Gold Cup and we have other entries – like Pendleton, Blackrod – but we are really watching the pitch.
“Commanche Falls likes to get out of the bridle and finish. He did it well in the Stewards’ Cup.
“It’s not an easy decision for the weight he has in the Ayr Gold Cup. But he’s in good shape, and a little rain would help – because he’s coming late, and we wouldn’t. let the rhythm horses escape. “
The most notable missing Monday among the early entries was Chil Chil, coached by Andrew Balding, who finished third in the Haydock Sprint Cup on his last start.