Saudi Arabia is a new international destination for Forever In Dreams, after she thrilled trainer Aidan Fogarty with her near miss on Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot.
Fogarty’s gallant grey filly outran her odds of 66-1 in Saturday’s Champions Sprint, disputing the lead inside the final furlong before finishing third, little more than a length behind Donjuan Triumphant.
The Tipperary trainer admits he thought for a second that Forever In Dreams was about to add a Group One win to the runner-up spot she had already claimed at the top level over course and distance in the Commonwealth Cup in June.
He was still delighted with another huge performance and will soon be preparing to head further afield again after owners, the Phoenix Ladies Syndicate, nominated a trip to February’s lucrative Saudi Cup meeting as the next stop, en route to the Dubai Carnival.
Fogarty said: “She’ll get a break now, and she’ll probably go to Saudi for that race in February – the new race, over six and a half furlongs.
“That’s where they kind of want her to go, so that’s what will happen – and then on to Dubai after that.”
Forever In Dreams’ next assignment in Riyadh is a million-dollar venture, with $600,000 for the winner.
Fogarty is living the dream, having never previously even had a runner in England before his appropriately-named horse of a lifetime first signalled her potential with victory in the Cecil Frail at Haydock in May.
Owner-breeder Con Marnane then sold to Phoenix, who kept her with Fogarty to head first to Royal Ascot.
He said: “I hadn’t had a runner even in England up to when she won at Haydock in the Listed race – she’s going to bring me all over the world now.
“She’s perfect, great after the other day.
“With a hundred yards to go, I thought we were going to get up – but it was a brilliant run.
“It was great – the owners were delighted.”
Forever In Dreams had run only respectably in Group One company at Haydock and ParisLongchamp in September and October – but a return to Ascot brought out her best again.
“It was brilliant that she came back to form,” Fogarty added.
“After (Royal) Ascot, we gave her a little break.
“I’d say she maybe just didn’t see out seven (furlongs) on the really soft ground in France. It looks like six is probably her best trip.
“(But) she seems to love Ascot – she seems to go on any ground as well, which is a big help.”
Fogarty is hoping Forever In Dreams may improve again as a four-year-old.
“She’ll probably be better next year – she’s a big filly,” he said.
“It was some run for a three-year-old filly taking on all the older sprinters. When she fills out, she should be better, you’d imagine.”
Fogarty has only a small string, for primary owner Marnane – and despite the exploits of Forever In Dreams, he has no wish as yet for major expansion.
“We’ve only five in training at the moment. The most we had at any time was eight, and five of them won,” he said.
“They’ve been good enough all year, so it’s been a new adventure for us. We’d five winners, a second and a third in a Group One and third in a Group Two.
“We’re happy with that – we don’t really take many outside horses.”