Champion European entire St Nicholas Abbey has lost his lengthy battle with injury after being found to have inoperable colic overnight.
St Nicholas Abbey had his racing career ended when he fractured a pastern while preparing for the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2414m) in July last year and has been locked in a battle for his life ever since.
The son of Montjeu underwent successful life-saving surgery, but suffered a nasty bout of colic soon afterwards before a steel pin that had been inserted in his cannon bone was found to have snapped.
St Nicholas Abbey developed laminitis in October, but as recently as last week all the news coming out of Coolmore, about the condition of the seven-year-old, was positive before his ultimately fatal setback this week.
The death of St Nicholas Abbey comes as a massive blow to Coolmore, who were hoping that the entire would replace his father Montjeu at stud, and the leading breeding operation released a statement that praised the staff at Fethard Equine Hospital for the care that they had given the five-time Group 1 winner during his lengthy ordeal.
“Regretfully St Nicholas Abbey has lost his brave battle after suffering a colic this morning,” the statement said.
“Surgery revealed a severe strangulating colon torsion that was unviable and he had to be euthanised on humane grounds.
“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.”
St Nicholas Abbey made his racing debut as a two-year-old in 2009 and recorded three straight victories; winning a maiden at Curragh, the Group 2 Beresford Stakes (1600m) and the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy (1609m) in impressive fashion.
He failed to fire as a three-year-old, finishing sixth in the 2010 Group 1 2000 Guineas (1609m), but returned to his best form the following season and won the Group 3 Ormonde Stakes (2696m), the Group 1 Coronation Cup (2423m) and the Group 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf (2413m) in the United States.
St Nicholas Abbey was placed at Group level on six occasions, with his only failure coming in the Group 1 Prix De l’Arc De Triomphe (2400m), during the 2012 racing season and he added another victory in the Coronation Cup to his racing resume.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained stayer started his 2013 racing season campaign with back-to-back wins in the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic (2410m) and the Coronation Cup and was a clear favourite for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes before suffering his career ending injury.
St Nicholas Abbey finished his career with nine wins from 21 starts and at the time of his retirement was the biggest money-winning racehorse trained in Europe in history.