07/23/2013 11:19AM

St Nicholas Abbey injured, retired

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Tom Keyser
Six-time Grade/Group 1 winner St. Nicholas Abbey suffered an injury while training in Ireland on Tuesday and has been retired.

Six-time Grade 1 and Group 1 winner St Nicholas Abbey, who had been favored to win the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes this Saturday, fractured a pastern during training Tuesday in Ireland and is scheduled to undergo surgery Wednesday, according to Coolmore Stud. On Tuesday afternoon, Coolmore Stud tweeted that the operation to stabilize the fracture “will be long and complicated.”

“We will need a bit of luck, so fingers crossed for St Nicholas Abbey,” the tweet concluded.

Coolmore revealed the injury via Twitter on Tuesday morning, saying that “St Nicholas Abbey suffered a serious career-ending injury at Ballydoyle this morning, vets are currently attending to him. We hope to save him for a career at stud.” The Co. Tipperary-based operation later said that St Nicholas Abbey “is currently in a comfortable condition” at nearby Fethard Equine Hospital, where the surgery is scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Susan Magnier, wife of the Coolmore Stud owner, owns St Nicholas Abbey in partnership with Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor. The 6-year-old St Nicholas Abbey is by Coolmore’s late stallion Montjeu and was trained by Aidan O’Brien.

Last month, St. Nicholas Abbey became the first three-time winner of England’s Group 1 Coronation Cup. Also among his six top-level wins are victories in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Turf, the 2013 Dubai Sheema Classic, and the Racing Post Trophy. His six Grade 1 and Group 1 placings include a second to Cirrus des Aigles in the 2012 Sheema Classic, a third behind Little Mike and Point of Entry in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Turf, and consecutive thirds in the 2011 and 2012 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

St Nicholas Abbey was highweighted at 2 on the English and Irish Free handicaps. He had been an early favorite for the Epsom Derby the following season but scratched the week of the race after O’Brien said the horse appeared “stiff behind” coming out of his stall to work. He made just one start at 3, finishing sixth in the 2000 Guineas.

But he rebounded at 4 and was the highweight on both the English and Irish Free handicaps over 11 to 14 furlongs; he was highweight again at 5 on the Irish Free Handicap over the same distance category. At the time of his injury, he had won 9 of 21 lifetime starts, with 2 second-place finishes, 7 thirds and earnings of $7,863,492.

Barton Bloodstock and Villiers Syndicate bred St Nicholas Abbey in Ireland.

St Nicholas Abbey is out of Leaping Water, an unraced Sure Blade mare that Coolmore’s traditional rival, Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum, bred. Leaping Water, a half-sister to three Grade 1 and Group 1 winners, is also is the dam of Grade 2 winner Grammarian.