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Qatar Racing homebred Middle Earth - now part-owned with Ciaron Maher - returned an improved performer when getting up late in a Gr.3 on Saturday, showing an excellent turn of foot and setting himself up for even bigger targets.

Middle Earth signed off his 3yo career with a Listed win at Ascot over 14.2f and he returned an even better horse when getting up late in the Gr.3 Sky Sports Racing Stakes (Aston Park) over 12f at Newbury on Saturday.

Middle Earth is from the only crop of Roaring Lion – who won four Gr.1s for Qatar Racing – and out of star Galileo mare Roheryn, a 12f Listed winner and also the dam of top-rated older miler in Ireland in 2023, Buckaroo, and winners Kihavah and Thousand Oaks.

Middle Earth was one of only 2 in the 8-runner Aston Park without a run this year but was sent off 10/3 second favourite under Oisin Murphy. After being held up, Middle Earth did extremely well, once the pace has lifted, to run down Godolphin’s King of Conquest, with the pair 4¼ lengths clear of Cemhaan.

John Gosden told the press: “The horse will come on for that, because it wasn’t strongly run for a horse coming from last. He’s like his father, he likes good ground, good to firm and firm. He’s not a lover of soft ground.

“He did well to win off that pace, but Oisin was clever sneaking up the rail and when you are winning by a nose you need to sneak up the rail.”

Middle Earth is trained by John and Thady Gosden. The Gr.2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot looks a logical next target and hopefully the Melbourne Cup later in the year.

Roheryn’s latest runner made her debut on Sunday, 3yo Siyouni filly Siege of Troy going very close to winning a Naas 1m maiden for Johnny Murtagh and Ben Coen.

Middle Earth beats King of Conquest in the Gr.3 Aston Park Stakes at Newbury

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