St Nicholas Abbey Horse
St Nicholas Abbey Horse

St Nicholas Abbey - Tribute To A Hero / Paddy Power (p)


Montjeu - Leaping Water

St Nicholas Abbey, one of the most successful racehorses of the past decade, following a months-long battle against laminitis after a career-ending injury last summer, was euthanized Tuesday morning after suffering a colic attack.

“Regretfully St Nicholas Abbey has lost his brave battle after suffering a colic this morning. Surgery revealed a severe strangulating colon torsion that was unviable and he had to be euthanized on humane grounds,” said a release from Coolmore. “This is extremely unfortunate as St Nicholas Abbey had been in terrific form, the laminitis was resolving very well and the fracture had healed better than expected. Coolmore would like to thank the surgeons, the international experts and all the staff at Fethard Equine Hospital who gave him such excellent care 24/7. We would also like to thank the multitude of well-wishers for all the cards and messages of support for St Nicholas Abbey. He will be buried in the graveyard here at Coolmore.”

A 200,000gns purchase out of the 2008 Tattersalls October Sale, St Nicholas Abbey swept his three starts at two, including the Grade 2 Beresford Stakes and Grade 1 Racing Post Trophy, but disappointed when sixth in a lone sophomore appearance in the Grade 1 English 2000 Guineas. He bounced back in 2011 to win the Grade 1 Coronation Cup at Epsom and capped the season with a memorable 2 1/4-length victory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf for the father-and-son team of Aidan and Joseph O’Brien. Runner-up in the 2012 Grade 1 Dubai Sheema Classic, St Nicholas Abbey successfully defended his title in the Coronation Cup and was perfect in two starts at six in 2013, defeating Gentildonna (Jpn) (Deep Impact) in the Dubai Sheema Classic before a third straight success in the Coronation Cup before a huge Derby-day crowd at Epsom Downs. He was preparing for a start in the Grade 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes last July when he suffered a fractured pastern in a routine piece of work. He retired with 9 wins from 21 starts and earnings of $7,865,416.

St Nicholas Abbey underwent a delicate and lengthy procedure to repair the injury, but had to go into emergency colic surgery soon after and subsequently developed laminitis in his left front foot. As recently as 4 January, there were reports that maggot therapy was proving successful against the laminitis and that signs of new hoof growth were evident.

Joseph O’Brien, who piloted St Nicholas Abbey in his last 12 races, paid this tribute.

“He was a horse I’ll never forget. He gave us at Ballydoyle some great days and over a mile and a half, on good ground, he would have given any horse in the world a run for their money,” he said. “His win in Dubai last year was possibly his best performance and he was probably better than ever last year. But from my point of view winning on him at the Breeders’ Cup was very special. It was my first big win on the world stage and my first big win outside Ireland. What happened to him was very sad. Everyone would have liked to see him stand at stud.”

Extracts from Thoroughbred Daily News and Racing Post