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Rite misses Gold Cup defence

Last year's winner Rite Of Passage is the major absentee following the confirmation stage for the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot next Thursday.

Dermot Weld's seven-year-old was a creditable third behind fellow Gold Cup aspirant Fame And Glory on his seasonal reappearance in the Saval Beg Stakes at Leopardstown, but the trainer revealed earlier this week he had suffered a setback.

Connections had hoped the chestnut may be able to defend his crown, but he is now ruled out of the two-and-a-half-mile showpiece.

Fame And Glory takes top billing among 16 entries, with connections of Blue Bajan taking the decision to supplement him at a cost of £25,000.

John Gosden's Yorkshire Cup winner Duncan is another major player, while Jamie Osborne is set to saddle Geordieland, who has been placed three times in this race but has not been seen since September 2009.

Kasbah Bliss and Brigantin are the two possible challengers from France, while Holberg, Opinion Poll and The Betchworth Kid are other possible runners.

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