St Nicholas Abbey (horse)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

St Nicholas Abbey
St Nicholas Abbey at 2012 Coronation Cup.jpg
St Nicholas Abbey at the 2012 Coronation Cup
SireMontjeu
GrandsireSadler's Wells
DamLeaping Water
DamsireSure Blade
SexStallion
Foaled13 April 2007
CountryIreland
ColourBay
BreederBarton Bloodstock & Villiers Synd
OwnerDerrick Smith, Michael Tabor & Sue Magnier
TrainerAidan O'Brien
Record21: 9-2-7
Earnings£4,954,590
Major wins
Beresford Stakes (2009)
Racing Post Trophy (2009)
Ormonde Stakes (2011)
Coronation Cup (2011, 2012, 2013)
Breeders' Cup Turf (2011)
Dubai Sheema Classic (2013)
Honours
European Champion Two-year-old colt (2009)
 
Jump to: navigation, search
St Nicholas Abbey
St Nicholas Abbey at 2012 Coronation Cup.jpg
St Nicholas Abbey at the 2012 Coronation Cup
SireMontjeu
GrandsireSadler's Wells
DamLeaping Water
DamsireSure Blade
SexStallion
Foaled13 April 2007
CountryIreland
ColourBay
BreederBarton Bloodstock & Villiers Synd
OwnerDerrick Smith, Michael Tabor & Sue Magnier
TrainerAidan O'Brien
Record21: 9-2-7
Earnings£4,954,590
Major wins
Beresford Stakes (2009)
Racing Post Trophy (2009)
Ormonde Stakes (2011)
Coronation Cup (2011, 2012, 2013)
Breeders' Cup Turf (2011)
Dubai Sheema Classic (2013)
Honours
European Champion Two-year-old colt (2009)

St Nicholas Abbey (13 April 2007 – 14 January 2014) was an Irish thoroughbred racehorse. He was the leading European two-year-old of 2009 and recovered from a disappointing three-year-old season to win the Coronation Cup and the Breeders' Cup Turf in 2011. He won the Coronation Cup for a second time in 2012 and the Dubai Sheema Classic in 2013. In June 2013 he won the Coronation Cup for an unprecedented third time. He was briefly the biggest money-winning racehorse trained in Europe. His career was ended prematurely due to injury in July 2013, and he was euthanised in January 2014 while undergoing colic surgery.

Background[edit]

St Nicholas Abbey, a bay horse with a white star and stripe and two white feet, was bred in Ireland by Barton Bloodstock & the Villiers Syndicate, a group associated with the Coolmore Stud.[1] He is one of many top-class middle-distance horses and stayers sired by Montjeu. Others include the Derby winners Pour Moi, Authorized, Camelot and Motivator, the St Leger winners Scorpion and Masked Marvel and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Hurricane Run.[2] St Nicholas Abbey's dam, Leaping Water was an unraced[3] daughter of the Moyglare Stud Stakes winner Flamenco Wave[4] and a half-sister of the Group One winners Ballingarry (Canadian International Stakes), Aristotle (Racing Post Trophy) and Starborough (St. James's Palace Stakes).[5]

As a yearling, he was consigned by the Oaks Farm Stud to the Tattersalls sales in October 2008 where he was bought for 200,000 guineas by the bloodstock agent Demi O'Byrne on behalf of John Magnier's Coolmore organisation.[6] Like many Coolmore horse's, the details of St Nicholas Abbey's ownership have altered from race to race: he has been officially "owned" by various combinations and individuals including Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier and Michael Tabor.[7] He has been trained throughout his racing career by Aidan O'Brien at Ballydoyle. He is named after a Jacobean plantation house in Barbados.[8] He is often referred to as "St Nick".[9]

Racing career[edit]

2009: two-year-old season[edit]

St Nicholas Abbey made his first appearance on heavy ground at the Curragh on 16 August. He was "impressive"[10] in winning a one mile maiden race by four lengths. In September he was moved up to Group Two class for the Beresford Stakes. He started 2/5 favourite and won "comfortably"[11] by three quarters of a length from Layali Al Andalus. After his win, O'Brien called the colt "very exciting and one to look forward to" while the bookmaker Paddy Power made him 8/1 favourite for the following year's Epsom Derby.[12]

In October, St Nicholas Abbey was sent to England to contest the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster. Ridden by Johnny Murtagh, he took the lead a furlong from the finish and accelerated clear to win by three and three quarter lengths from Elusive Pimpernel.[13] The Daily Mirror described his performance as "brilliant"[14] and reported that he was as short as 3/1 favourite for the Derby. Marcus Armytage in the Daily Telegraph described the performance as "hugely impressive" and identified St Nicholas Abbey as a potential successor to the recently retired Sea The Stars.[15]

In November, St Nicholas Abbey was named European Champion Two-year-old colt at the Cartier Racing Awards.[16] In January 2012 he was officially rated the best two-year-old in Europe with an "outstanding"[17] rating of 124.

2010: three-year-old season[edit]

In March, St Nicholas Abbey performed impressively in a public trial at the Curragh, finishing clear of several other O'Brien-trained three-year-olds.[18] St Nicholas Abbey made his three-year-old debut in the 2,000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket on 1 May and started evens favourite against eighteen opponents. He appeared to be outpaced in the closing stages and finished sixth behind Makfi, Dick Turpin, Canford Cliffs, Xtension and Elusive Pimpernel.[19] After the race O'Brien professed himself to be satisfied with his St Nicholas Abbey's performance, and explained that the colt had been unsuited by the uneven pace.[20] The 2000 Guineaas was to be St Nicholas Abbey's only appearance of the season. He was still among the leading contenders for the Epsom Derby but was withdrawn after appearing to be "stiff behind" when appearing for exercise shortly before the race.[21] St Nicholas Abbey was expected to return for a race at the Curragh in October, but was withdrawn, with O'Brien describing him as "not quite ready" although there was some speculation that his failure to run was motivated by a desire to protect his stud value.[22]

2011: four-year-old season[edit]

In his first race for eleven months, St Nicholas Abbey started odds-on favourite for the Listed Alleged Stakes over ten furlongs at the Curragh, but finished third to the mare Unaccompanied. At Chester a month later St Nicholas Abbey accelerated[23] clear in the closing stages to win the Ormonde Stakes by nine lengths, recording his first victory for eighteen months. At Epsom in June he followed up by winning the Coronation Cup from Midday and three others. Ridden by Ryan Moore he appeared outpaced by the English filly early in the straight but stayed on strongly to lead in the final 75 yards.[24] After the race, O'Brien called the winner "a great horse" and admitted that he had "messed him up last year".[25] St Nicholas Abbey then finished third to Nathaniel and Workforce in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and third again to Sarafina and Hiruno d'Amour in the Prix Foy at Longchamp Racecourse.

In the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in October, St Nicholas Abbey, ridden by his trainer's son Joseph O'Brien, took the lead in the straight but was soon overtaken by Danedream and weakened in the closing stages to finish fifth of the sixteen runners. On his final start of the year, St Nicholas Abbey was sent to Churchill Downs for the Breeders' Cup Turf. O'Brien restrained St Nicholas Abbey in the early stages, before switching the colt to the outside to make his challenge in the straight. St Nicholas Abbey overtook the American colt Brilliant Speed inside the final furlong and quickly drew clear to win by two and a half lengths from Sea Moon.[26] The eighteen-year-old O'Brien, who had been advised on riding the course by Jerry Bailey, became the youngest jockey to win a Breeders Cup race.[27]

At the end of the year, St Nicholas Abbey was given a rating of 124 in the World Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings, making him the fourteenth best racehorse in the world and placing him fourth in the "L" (long distance) category.[28]

2012: five-year-old season[edit]

On St Nicholas Abbey's first appearance of the 2011 season he finished strongly to take second place, a neck behind Cirrus des Aigles in the Dubai Sheema Classic.[29] On his return to Ireland and started 2/5 favourite for the Mooresbridge Stakes at the Curragh. He was settled in third place by Joseph O'Brien as the Coolmore pacemaker Windsor Palace built up a big lead. St Nicholas Abbey stayed on strongly in the straight but failed to catch Windsor Castle, finishing second by a length.[30]

On 2 June, St Nicholas Abbey attempted to win his second Coronation Cup. He was ridden confidently by O'Brien who held the horse up at the rear of the field in the early stages before making his challenge in the straight. He produced what the Irish Independent described as "a brilliant turn of foot"[31] to take the lead and went clear of his opponents to win by four and a half lengths from Red Cadeaux and Masked Marvel. St Nicholas Abbey was made third favourite for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on 21 July. He was restrained in last place by O'Brien before finishing strongly to take third place behind Danedream and Nathaniel. In the International Stakes at York in August, racing over ten and a half furlongs, he was beaten seven lengths by the winner Frankel and lost second place by a nose to Farhh. St Nicholas Abbey ran again over ten furlongs in the Irish Champion Stakes on 8 September when he finished third to Snow Fairy and Nathaniel. In the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, run on extremely soft ground, he was never in serious contention and finished eleventh of the eighteen runners behind Solemia. In November St Nicholas Abbey was sent to Santa Anita to defend the Breeder's Cup Turf. He made some late progress but was unable to repeat his 2011 success, finishing third to Little Mike and Point of Entry.

St Nicholas Abbey was given a rating of 124 in the 2012 World Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings, making him the thirteenth best racehorse in the world and placing him equal-third in the "L" (long distance) category.[32]

2013: six-year-old season[edit]

As in the previous season, St Nicholas Abbey began his season with a run in the Dubai Sheema Classic. Starting at odds of 11/4 he took the lead three furlongs from the finish and held off the challenge of the Japanese filly Gentildonna to win by two and a quarter lengths. After the race Aidan O'Brien admitted that he had always felt that the horse needed to be held up in races and that the decision to change tactics and track the leader had been made by Joseph O'Brien and Derrick Smith.[33] On 1 June St Nicholas Abbey contested the Coronation Cup for the third time in which he was opposed by the Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden. Ridden by Joseph O'Brien, he took the lead in the straight and won from Dunaden, making him the first horse to win three Investec Coronation Cups.[34]

In July St Nicholas Abbey was aimed at the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and was made the ante-post favourite ahead of Cirrus des Aigles, Trading Leather and Novellist. On 23 July, four days before the race, the horse sustained a serious leg injury (described as a "fractured pastern") during exercise at Ballydoyle, ending his racing career and putting his life in danger.[35] On the following day, the horse underwent surgery at Fethard Equine Hospital aimed at saving him for a stud career. On 25 July Coolmore announced that the horse was "comfortable", but remained in intensive care and had "many bridges to cross before he is considered out of danger".[36] On the following day it was announced that the horse had suffered a "major setback" after contracting colic which necessitated additional surgery.[37] St Nicholas Abbey made a good recovery over the following week. Coolmore released details of the surgical procedures: twenty screws and a steel pin had been inserted into St Nicholas Abbey's leg and a bone-graft from the horse's hip had been used to improve blood supply to the afflicted limb. The Fethard Hospital's Doctor Tom O'Brien described his patient as "a very, very tough horse".[38]

At the time of his injury, St Nicholas Abbey was rated the seventh best racehorse in the world.[39]

2014: Death[edit]

St Nicholas Abbey was euthanised on the morning of January 14, 2014 due to complications from colic surgery. Coolmore Stud announced that the surgery revealed a severe strangulating colon torsion which led to the decision to euthanize on humane grounds. Coolmore thanked the surgeons and the Fethard Hospital for tending care to the horse, and thanked everyone that had sent well wishes.[40]

Pedigree[edit]

Pedigree of St Nicholas Abbey (IRE), bay stallion, 2007[41]
Sire
Montjeu (IRE)
1996
Sadler's Wells
1981
Northern DancerNearctic
Natalma
Fairy BridgeBold Reason
Special
Floripedes
1985 
Top VilleHigh Top
Sega Ville
Toute CyTennyson
Adele Toumignon
Dam
Leaping Water (GB)
1990
Sure Blade
1983 
KrisSharpen Up
Doubly Sure
Double LockHome Guard
St. Padina
Flamenco Wave
1986
Desert WineDamascus
Anne Campbell
Armada WaySadair
Hurry Call (Family: 16-g)[42]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Barton Bloodstock & Villiers Syndicate". Breederscup.com. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  2. ^ "Montjeu Stud record". Bloodstock.racingpost.com. Retrieved 2011-09-13. 
  3. ^ 3.40PM 24 OCT 2009 (2009-10-24). "Third Post Trophy winner for Montjeu". Bloodstock.racingpost.com. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  4. ^ Dwyer, Stephen (2012-02-02). "Looking forward at Leopardstown". Irishhorseracingblog.blogspot.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  5. ^ "News :: Breeders Cup Turf for St Nicholas Abbey". Coolmore. 2011-11-06. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  6. ^ "Tattersalls October Yearling Sale Book 1". Bloodstock.racingpost.com. 2012-04-03. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  7. ^ "St Nicholas Abbey". Racing Post. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  8. ^ "In great Nic to emulate super Sea The Stars". belfasttelegraph.co.uk. 30 April 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2012. 
  9. ^ "Improving St Nicholas Abbey to take on Frankel". the-racehorse.com. 14 August 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-23. 
  10. ^ "RACE Reunion Maiden". Racing Post. Retrieved 2012-04-08. 
  11. ^ "Beresford Stakes". Racing Post. Retrieved 2012-04-08. 
  12. ^ "St Nicholas Abbey impresses at the Curragh". RTÉ. 2009-09-27. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  13. ^ "Racing Post Trophy". Racing Post. Retrieved 2012-04-08. 
  14. ^ "St Nicholas Abbey on the road to Derby after romp". Daily Mirror. 2009-10-25. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  15. ^ Horse Racing (2009-10-24). "St Nicholas Abbey makes first class delivery in Racing Post Trophy". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  16. ^ Horse Racing (2009-11-18). "Cartier Awards: Sea The Stars cleans up". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  17. ^ Greg Wood (2010-01-12). "Matthew Tester says St Nicholas Abbey should be odds-on to win a Classic in 2010". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  18. ^ Will Hayler (2010-03-21). "Aidan O'Brien's big Classic hope St Nicholas Abbey in Curragh workout". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  19. ^ "2000 Guineas". Racing Post. Retrieved 2012-04-08. 
  20. ^ "BBC Sport - Horse Racing - Makfi bags shock 2,000 Guineas victory at Newmarket". BBC News. 2010-05-01. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  21. ^ Horse Racing (2010-06-01). "St Nicholas Abbey out of the Derby". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  22. ^ "Case of St Nicholas Abbey haunts merchants of hype". London: The Independent. 2010-10-11. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  23. ^ "Ormonde Stakes". Racing Post. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  24. ^ "Coronation Cup". Racing Post. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  25. ^ "St Nic takes Coronation thriller". RTÉ. 2011-06-03. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  26. ^ "Breeders' Cup Turf". Racing Post. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  27. ^ Marcus Townend (2011-11-05). "Teenager Joseph O'Brien is the youngest Breeders' Cup winner". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  28. ^ "The 2011 World Thoroughbred Rankings". Horseracingintfed.com. Retrieved 2012-06-03. 
  29. ^ "Cirrus Des Aigles lands Dubai Sheema Classic". London: Daily Mail. 2012-03-31. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  30. ^ "Mooresbridge Stakes". Racing Post. Retrieved 2012-06-03. 
  31. ^ "Awesome Abbey in return to top form". Irish Independent. 2010-11-18. Retrieved 2012-06-03. 
  32. ^ "The 2012 World Thoroughbred Rankings". Horseracingintfed.com. Retrieved 2013-06-01. 
  33. ^ Amith Passela (30 March 2013). "Dubai World Cup: St Nicholas Abbey makes up for last year's disappointment in Sheema Classic". [[The National (Abu Dhabi)|]]. Retrieved 2013-03-31. 
  34. ^ "Epsom: St Nicholas Abbey wins record 3rd straight Coronation Cup". courier-journal.com. Retrieved 2013-06-03. 
  35. ^ "Abbey set for Wednesday surgery". Sporting Life. 23 July 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-23. 
  36. ^ Stuart Riley (25 July 2013). "St Nicholas Abbey has come through surgery". Racing Post. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  37. ^ "BBC Sport - St Nicholas Abbey: Coronation Cup winner has 'major setback'". BBC. 26 July 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-03. 
  38. ^ Mark Scully (3 August 2013). "X rays reveal how vets saved St Nicholas Abbey". Racing Post. Retrieved 2013-08-03. 
  39. ^ "World Thoroughbred Rankings July 2013". IFHA. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  40. ^ "St Nicholas Abbey euthanized during colic surgery". drf.com. Daily Racing Form. January 14, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  41. ^ "St Nicholas Abbey". equineline.com. 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2012-06-30. 
  42. ^ "Polly Agnes - Family 16-g". Bloodlines.net. Retrieved 2012-04-09.