The 7-year-old developed inoperable colic, according to a statement from Coolmore, his owners. The colic was the final straw in a series of misfortunes that began with a career-ending injury this summer while training. Most recently, St Nicholas Abbey had been recovering well from a life-threatening bout with laminitis, a hoof ailment.
"Coolmore would like to thank the surgeons, the international experts and all the staff at Fethard Equine hospital, who gave him such excellent care 24/7," the organization said in a statement. "We would also like to thank the multitude of well-wishers for all the cards and messages in support of St Nicholas Abbey. He will be buried in the graveyard here at Coolmore."
St Nicholas Abbey was a son of Montjeu out of the Sure Blade mare Leaping Water and would have been an outstanding stallion prospect for Coolmore.
He won nine of his 21 starts and finished worse than third only three times, earning more than $8 million. He won his last two starts, the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan last March and the Group 1 Coronation Cup at Ascot on June 1. That was his third victory in the Coronation Cup.
He also won the Grade I Breeders' Cup Turf at Churchill Downs in 2011 and the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in 2009 as a 2-year-old.
St Nicholas Abbey was trained by Aidan O'Brien and ridden for most of his final two seasons by the trainer's son, Joseph.