Chelkar has been installed as the sponsor’s 10-1 favourite for the £500,000 Sky Bet Ebor at York on August 25 after 100 entries were revealed for Britain’s richest handicap.
Chelkar is one of 13 entries for Irish trainer Willie Mullins. The five-year-old made his debut for Mullins when fourth in the Ascot Handicap at the Royal meeting, having formerly been trained in France.
The County Carlow handler is seeking his second Ebor success, after taking the honours with Sesenta in 2009.
Three horses are on 12-1 – David Elsworth’s Dash Of Spice, who is set to contest the John Smith’s Cup at York on Saturday, Saeed bin Suroor’s Game Starter and Northumberland Plate scorer Withhold, trained by Roger Charlton.
There has been no French-trained winner of the Ebor, but Christophe Ferland is aiming to change that with Funny Kid, winner of the All-Weather Marathon Championship at Lingfield.
Ferland said: “He had a problem as he hurt himself when racing at Belmont Park last month, a bruise, but the horse is OK now.
“He will be ready to run again by the time of the Ebor in late August.
“He has done well this year, winning the All-Weather Championships Marathon at Lingfield Park in March and then the Group Three Prix de Barbeville at Longchamp the following month.
“The shorter distance of the Ebor will not bother him and the prize money is very good.”
Irish trainer Gordon Elliott took the Ebor in 2010 with Dirar and has another live contender this year with Cartwright.
Flint Jack (1922 and 1923) is the only dual winner of the Ebor, but Nakeeta might try to join him as trainer Iain Jardine reports last year’s hero to be on course to defend his title.
“Nakeeta is in good form at home and he has come out of his latest run fine,” he said.
“It’s all systems go for York and the plan is definitely to head back for the Ebor. I don’t think he will run again beforehand.
“We’ll freshen him up and hopefully he can win the race for the second year in succession.
“I’ve been happy with him this season and we’ll be finely tuning him for York.”