Rite Of Passage will bid to regain his crown when he lines-up for the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot on Thursday.

The Dermot Weld-trained nine-year-old was successful in 2010 but is a fragile soul and has only run twice since.

The last time he graced a racecourse was at Ascot last October when he took the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup.

His participation means his stablemate Pale Mimosa will not take her chance and he was the only withdrawal, leaving a field of 18 for the stayers' championship.

They include the Queen's Estimate, who won the Queen's Vase at last year's meeting.

The Michael Stoute-trained filly booked her place in this two-and-a-half-mile Group One by making a winning return in Ascot's Sagaro Stakes early last month.

Last year's Gold Cup third Saddler's Rock will be looking to bounce back to form following a disappointing spring campaign in Dubai for John Oxx.

Ireland's champion National Hunt trainer Willie Mullins saddles Simenon, who won twice at last year's Royal meeting in lesser company, while Aidan O'Brien's sole representative is outsider El Salvador.

Godolphin rely on last year's winner Colour Vision with James Fanshawe's High Jinx and the Ed Dunlop-trained Times Up also among the home contingent.

There is a strong challenge from overseas with three from France - Vadamar, Last Train and Top Trip - and two from Germany, the Andreas Wohler-trained pair of Altano and Earl Of Tinsdal.