St Nicholas Abbey is recuperating in intensive care after undergoing complex surgery on a career-ending injury to a pastern.
The six-times Group One winner fractured a leg on the gallops at Aidan O’Brien’s Ballydoyle stables on Tuesday morning in preparation for Saturday’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
St Nicholas Abbey underwent an operation on Wednesday, but still has “many bridges to cross before he is considered out of danger”, according to Coolmore Stud, who represent the colt’s owners.
They tweeted: “After a lengthy surgery to fuse the pastern St Nicholas Abbey is recuperating in intensive care at John Halley’s Fethard Equine Hospital.
“Surgery was carried out at Fethard Equine Hospital in consultation with Dr Dean Richardson, head of surgery at New Bolton Centre Pennsylvania, along with Ger Kelly and Tom O’Brien
“St Nicholas Abbey will remain in intensive care for some time and has many bridges to cross before he is considered out of danger.
“This morning he is well and comfortable and back enjoying his hay.
“We are lucky he is so fit and has a marvellous attitude and temperament which will be vital for his long recovery.”
A son of champion sire Montjeu, St Nicholas Abbey was champion two-year-old in 2009 when he crowned his season with a blistering display in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.
He was a red-hot favourite for the 2000 Guineas the following year, but could only finish sixth behind Makfi, and was not seen again until the following April when he was beaten at the Curragh.
The six-year-old returned to something like his juvenile form when an easy scorer of the Ormonde Stakes at Chester and went on to further Group One glory in the Coronation Cup at Epsom, a race he went on to win two more times.
Arguably his two greatest successes came on the world stage, however.
He won the Breeders’ Cup Turf in 2011, a victory which made his jockey Joseph O’Brien the youngest winner in Breeders’ Cup history, and as recently as March he landed the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan.
St Nicholas Abbey amassed close to €5.8m in prize-money, having won nine of his 21 races.