Few horses on the Flat have captured the imagination quite like St Nicholas Abbey in recent years – and his victory in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy under jockey Johnny Murtagh for trainer Aidan O’Brien marked him out as a special talent.
Promoted to Derby favourite on the back of this devastating performance at Doncaster, St Nicholas Abbey rounded off his juvenile season by remaining unbeaten and winning his third race from three starts.
A short-priced favourite for the 2000 Guineas the following spring, St Nicholas Abbey proved disappointing and was not seen again that year, but the Montjeu colt began to make up for lost time as a four-year-old.
Beaten in a Listed race first time out many observers thought that the wjheels had very much come off, but ‘St Nick’ bounced back – a Group 1 winner in the Coronation Cup at Epsom months later, St Nicholas Abbey won at the Breeders Cup in November 2011 under jockey Joseph O’Brien in an emotional triumph for the O’Brien family.
St Nicholas Abbey got better as he got older and went on to land more top-class races, including the Dubai Sheema Classic on World Cup night as a six-year-old in 2013, while later that year this much-loved racehorse would triumph for the third time in the Coronation Cup – the only three-time winner in the history of the Epsom race.
Taken to the hearts of racegoers for his longevity and bouncing back when seeming down and out, St Nicholas Abbey sadly succumbed to complications from colic in January 2014 and passed away before he was given the chance of a stallion career. Gone, but not forgotten…
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