08/28/2013 11:49AM

St Nicholas Abbey suffers setback in recovery

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Tom Keyser
St Nicholas Abbey suffered a setback in his recovery from a career-ending injury on Monday when a weight-bearing pin supporting his cannon bone was removed.

Multiple Grade/Group 1 winner St Nicholas Abbey, who suffered a life-threatening injury in training and then underwent colic surgery last month, faced what has been deemed a “major complication” in his recovery on Monday evening.

The 6-year-old Montjeu horse, residing at Fethard Equine Hospital in Co. Tipperary, Ireland, since fracturing his right front pastern on July 23, appeared uncomfortable on Monday. Radiographs showed that a weight-bearing steel pin in his cannon bone had broken. Surgeons elected to remove the pin and re-cast the leg, meaning St Nicholas Abbey is now bearing weight on the injured limb without that assistance.

“This development has come sooner than we would have ideally liked, so the next week is a very tentative period for us,” owner Coolmore Stud said in a release. “This morning St Nicholas Abbey is comfortable and is walking as well as can be expected. His temperament and demeanor are a tremendous plus both for him and the team treating him.”

St Nicholas Abbey suffered the injury while training at Aidan O’Brien’s Ballydoyle base and underwent surgery at Fethard July 24, with New Bolton Center’s Dr. Dean Richardson, who led the battle to save 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, consulting from the U.S. But two days after the successful surgery, the horse suffered his first major setback when he underwent emergency colic surgery after a shutdown of the cecum.

St Nicholas Abbey, who captured the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs, is the only three-time winner of England’s Coronation Cup, and also won the Dubai Sheema Classic and Racing Post Trophy. He ended his career with nine wins from 21 starts and earned $7,863,492.