Winners of most of the better juvenile contests get ante-post classic quotes for the following spring and then, when the early-season trials come around, a considerable amount of time and space is devoted to examination of those who enhanced their prospects following victory, or perhaps unlucky defeat, in the events expected to pinpoint the so-to-be-crowned classic stars.
Even when a longshot surprises on the day, that classic scorer will at least have taken a maiden en route to their big moment. But not Forever Together.
She finished fourth and third in the mile maidens won by Who's Steph and the ill-fated Contingent on her only starts at two – well-beaten both times – and chased home stablemate Magic Wand in the Listed Cheshire Oaks on her seasonal reappearance. Then she headed to Epsom to contest the Group 1 Investec Oaks.
The classic came just one week after her physical third birthday and there did not appear to be any fluke about the way she stormed home to beat last year's Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac heroine Wild Illusion by four and a half lengths. There was a gap of three and a half lengths back to the front-running Bye Bye Baby, who was another three clear of Magic Wand, this pair – like the winner – trained by Aidan O'Brien.
The ground was soft, the time suggestive of good-to-soft, and it will be interesting to see how she gets on when tackling fast ground at the Curragh tomorrow, in the Group 1 Juddmonte Pretty Polly Stakes over 10 furlongs.
Aside from the margins and the style of her victory, it was also striking that this was her maiden success. She is, of course, not the first horse to get off the mark in a classic, or even to do so in the Oaks.
Sun Princess routed the opposition by 12 lengths and more in the 1983 edition of this classic before going on to take high rank among the best middle-distance fillies of the modern era, Group 1-placed Snurge opened his winning account in the Group 1 St Leger at Doncaster in 1990, and both Ballymore and Lady Capulet were making their racecourse debuts when taking the Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas and Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas in 1972 and 1977 respectively.
Forever Together is one of 71 Group 1 scorers among a total of 274 stakes winners by Coolmore Stud's dual Derby hero and prolific champion sire Galileo (by Sadler's Wells). The great stallion is rapidly closing in on his own great sire's tallies of 73 top-level winners from 294 blacktype scorers although still some way short of the final figures achieved by the mighty Danehill (by Danzig) – 83 Group 1 winners from 348 stakes winners.
She is inbred 3x4 to Northern Dancer (by Nearctic) and 4x4 to Special (by Forli), which may or may not have any bearing on her talent. More significant is that her big win has elevated her dam to that elite club of broodmares who have produced at least three Group/Grade 1 winners.
Green Room (by Theatrical) was unraced but as a granddaughter of Rare Treat Handicap scorer Chain Store (by Nodouble) there was always the chance that she could excel at stud, especially given what some of her relations had achieved. Hitting the Group 1 target so many times, however, could not be expected of any mare.
Her unraced half-sister Rusty Back (by Defensive Play) came up with Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap winner Heatseeker (by Giant's Causeway), half-sister Dayville (by Dayjur) is the grandam of Group 1 Gran Criterium scorer Hearts Of Fire (by Firebreak), but sadly their half-sister Spanish Fern (by El Gran Senor), who won the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon Handicap at Santa Anita, died before getting the chance to go to stud.
They are all out of the unraced Chain Fern (by Blushing Groom), a half-sister to Peplum (by Nijinsky) and Bloudan (by Damascus). The latter is the dam of Group 2 Prix Eugene Adam winner Radevore (by Generous) and third dam of both Group 2 Hungerford Stakes scorer Richard Pankhurst (by Raven's Pass) and Group 1-placed Group 3 Molecomb Stakes winner Havana Grey (by Havana Gold).
Peplum won the Listed Cheshire Oaks, finished third in the Group 3 Princess Royal Stakes, and her pattern-winning descendants include Hong Kong top-level mile scorer Giant Treasure (by Mizzen Mast) and US Grade 2 winners Jibboom (by Mizzen Mast) and Aviate (by Dansili).
Of course, considerably more notable is that Chain Fern is a full-sister to Al Bahathri, the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas and Group 2 Coronation Stakes heroine whose sons feature Group 1 2000 Guineas and Group 1 Champion Stakes star Haafhd (by Alhaarth) and Group 2 Challenge Stakes winner Munir (by Indian Ridge), and whose descendants include four top-level stars.
Triple 10-furlong Group 1 ace Military Attack (by Oratorio) did most of his racing in Hong Kong, Gladiatorus (by Silic) got his top win in the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free Stakes at Nad Al Sheba, star stayer Big Orange (by Duke Of Marmalade) landed the Group 1 Gold Cup at Ascot in 2017, and ill-fated multimillionaire Red Cadeaux (by Cadeaux Genereux) was a popular globetrotter whose tally included the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin.
As for Green Room, in addition to her newly crowned classic heroine, she is also responsible for Lord Shanakill (by Speightstown) and Together Forever (by Galileo). The latter was also trained by Aidan O'Brien and the Group 1 Fillies' Mile heroine was not seen out again after finishing fourth (no blacktype) to Covert Love in the Group 1 Irish Oaks at the Curragh three years ago.
Lord Shanakill, on the other hand, was trained by the late Sir Henry Cecil. He won the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes and was short-headed by Intense Focus in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes at two, took the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat over a mile at Chantilly at three, and added the Group 2 Lennox Stakes over seven furlongs at Goodwood at four. He began his stallion career at the Irish National Stud, from where he sired Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes scorer and young Bridge House Stud sire My Dream Boat, and he is now based in Pennsylvania.
Forever Together was bred by Vimal and Gillian Khosla, she is a €900,000 Goffs Orby Sale graduate, and she holds a long list of Group 1 entries. Her late foaling date – May 25th – adds an eye-catching dimension to her profile and it would be no surprise to see her return to action as a four-year-old when the physical advantage enjoyed by many of her rivals would not be so pronounced.