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Maher plots Melbourne Cup tilt with Middle Earth

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© Photo Healy Racing

Ciaron Maher is already making plans for Middle Earth after the four-year-old he owns in a partnership with Qatar Racing finished third in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Not surprisingly, the Melbourne Cup is on the agenda, with the Caulfield Cup likely to figure in his schedule as well.

He is not on his travels just yet, though, with John and Thady Gosden looking to run him in Europe at least once more before he heads to Australia.

“He was a little bit slow into gear and they only went a moderate tempo and he closed off really well,” Maher told www.racing.com.

“We’ll just work out where he is in terms of handicapping, but we’re very excited to get him out here.

“I’d say the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups would be the go.”

Maher also has an interest in the George Boughey-trained Chesham Stakes runner-up Pentle Bay, a New Bay colt he now owns in a partnership with Teme Valley Racing, who themselves only bought the juvenile after his debut win at Leicester.

“I was just going to see where the Caulfield Guineas sat with him, obviously it’s tough to do early in the season being a Northern Hemisphere two-year-old, three-year-old,” Maher said.

“He’s obviously got some ability, he’s bred to get over ground and you wouldn’t think a New Bay should be doing what he’s doing. He’s got plenty of options.”

Maher will also take care of Sayedaty Sadaty, fifth in the Derby for Andrew Balding.

He has been purchased by Australian Bloodstock, the team behind 2022 Melbourne Cup winner Gold Trip.

“Our trick is we have to beat the handicapper, but we need to make sure we get into the race,” said Luke Murrell of Australian Bloodstock.

“He is probably going to be better suited at 2400 metres at this early stage. But he definitely profiles like he will stick on for a Melbourne Cup.

“He was third-up into the Derby, so his next two runs should hopefully be impressive and that will give us a better indication.”