Forever Together wins the Investec Oaks
The first maiden to win the race since Sun Princess in 1983, Forever Together, stormed home by four and a half lengths to give Aidan O’Brien his seventh winner in the race.
Seven days before the race, however, the Oaks betting was thrown into chaos when the John Gosden-trained ante-post favourite, Lah Ti Dar, returned an unsatisfactory blood test and was withdrawn. Wild Illusion, fourth in the 1000 Guineas, was then made 5-2 favourite, with Magic Wand, winner of the Cheshire Oaks at 4-1 and the runner-up, Forever Together, on 7-1.
On ground described as Soft (Good to soft in places), Flattering, Bye Bye Baby and Wild Illusion, took them up to the mile post, where Bye Bye Baby went on, going four lengths clear at the top of the hill, extending to seven lengths at Tattenham Corner. From coming up the middle of the straight, Bye Bye Baby moved towards the stands’ rail to do battle with Wild Illusion and Forever Together.
Two furlongs out, Forever Together (rails) and Wild Illusion forged ahead, with Donnacha O’Brien on Forever Together, drawing away at the distance to win by four and a half lengths. Bye Bye Baby, keeping up the gallop, finished third, a further three and a half lengths away.
In a blanket attack on the race, Aidan O’Brien trained five of the nine runners, four of which were by Galileo.
Purists may like to know an extra 12 yards had been added to the distance to protect the ground on the inner rail for Derby day.
RUN on Friday, 1 June, 2018, as the Investec Oaks, over the Derby Course of one mile and a half and 6 yards, Epsom Downs. For three-year-old fillies, 9st 0lb. Value to winner £283,550.
1st FOREVER TOGETHER Donnacha O’Brien 7-1
2nd WILD ILLUSION William Buick 5-2 Fav
3rd BYE BYE BABY Wayne Lordan 8-1
Distances: 4 1/2 lengths and 3 1/2 lengths
Also ran: 4th Magic Wand (Ryan Moore) 4-1; Flattering (P.B. Beggy) 11-1; Give And Take (James Doyle) 16-1; Perfect Clarity (Adam Kirby) 5-1; I Can Fly (Seamie Heffernan) 9-1 (tailed off); Ejtyah (Jamie Spencer) 25-1(last, 98½ lengths behind the winner). 9 ran. Time: 2 min. 40.39 sec.
BRED by Vimal and Gillian Khosia.
OWNED by Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs John Magnier.
TRAINED by A P O’Brien at Cashel, Co.Tipperary.
The winner, FOREVER TOGETHER, a late May foal, has won 1 race (from 4 starts): Investec Oaks Stakes.
The sire, GALILEO b.c. 1998 by SADLER’S WELLS ex URBAN SEA, won 6 races (from 8 starts) incl. Vodafone Derby Stakes, Budweiser Irish Derby, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes. Champion Sire in G.B. & Ireland 2008 & 2010-2017. Sire of 3 Epsom Derby winners: NEW APPROACH ch.c. 2005; RULER OF THE WORLD ch.c. 2010; AUSTRALIA ch.c. 2011, and of 2 other Epsom Oaks winners: WAS b.f. 2009; MINDING b.f. 2013. Also sire of FRANKEL b.c. 2008, won 14 races, incl. Two Thousand Guineas Stakes, (unbeaten).
The dam, GREEN ROOM b. or br. f. 2002 by THEATRICAL ex CHAIN FERN, was unraced. She has bred 7 winners from 8 foals (FOREVER TOGETHER was her 7th), incl. TOGETHER FOREVER b.f. 2012 by GALILEO, won 3 races incl. Dubai Fillies’ Mile, Newmarket.