Ciaron Maher Cheers On Melbourne Cup Hopeful at Newbury

Mark Smith - Sunday May 19

The Melbourne Cup remains in play for Middle Earth and his new part owner, Ciaron Maher, after making a successful 2024 bow in the Group III Aston Park Stakes at Newbury.

Middle Earth sticks hard against the rail (image Sporting Life)

Ridden by Oisin Murphy for John and Thady Gosden, the 4-year-old son of Roaring Lion stuck solid against the fence to come from last to defeat King Of Conquest (Lope de Vega) by a nose with Cemhaan (Muhaarar) four and a quarter lengths back in third.

Middle Earth has won four of his last five, closing out last season with a win in the  Listed Noel Murless Stakes at Ascot following his only poor performance in the Group 1 St Leger.

 
“That was good, the jockey saved every inch, and he needed every inch,” John Gosden told At The Races.

“He won well in the Noel Murless Stakes at Ascot and he’s a grand horse.

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“He will come on for that because it wasn’t strongly run for a horse coming from last. He’s like his father (Roaring Lion), he likes good ground, good to firm and firm. He’s not a lover of soft ground.

“He’s entered in the Hardwicke and we will have to check. Ciaron Maher owns the other half in Australia, so we will chat with them and see what the game plan will be. However, that seems to be the place he is likely to go.

“The plan is to go down to Australia for the Melbourne Cup. We’ll probably run him a couple or more times here; we’ll not overrace him and then go down there.

“He hated the ground in the St Leger last year, it was too loose and he does not like it. So, if they get one of those downpours in Melbourne, we may as well all stay in the hotel.”

The Qatar Bloodstock colourbearer advances his record to four wins and two seconds from seven starts.

Middle Earth is a half-brother to Buckaroo (Fastnet Rock) a stakes-winner in Ireland for Joseph O’Brien, Buckaroo recently placed in the Group 1  Ranvet Stakes for Chris Waller.

His dam Roheryn (Gailieo) is a Listed winner and multiple Group-placed daughter of dual Group III winner La Chunga (More Than Ready). 

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