St Nicholas Abbey hits a setback in his recovery

St Nicholas Abbey's rebuilt leg

St Nicholas Abbey's rebuilt leg

St Nicholas Abbey has had a tough time of it lately, and has just had a third operation in the space of five weeks.

Things started to go wrong when the six times Group 1 winner broke a leg on the gallops at Aidan O’Brien’s Ballydoyle stable five weeks ago. That injury ended his racing career. He immediately went into surgery to have the leg stabilised, a procedure that required 20 screws and two plates to allow the bones to set correctly. As the blood supply to some of the damaged bone fragments had lost blood supply, and had to be replaced by taking a bone graft from his hip.

A few days later he was back at the Fethard Equine Hospital to undergo treatment for colic, a potentially killer problem for horses, but one that in his case was quickly sorted out.

Earlier this week it came to light that there was a further problem with St Nicholas Abbey’s leg. Along with the pins and plates the vets had inserted a steel weight bearing pin into the cannon bone in the lower part of his leg (see x-ray above) . On Monday evening it was found to have broken, and he went back to the hospital, where the pin was removed.

Whilst clearly a complication, it hasn’t proved necessary to replace the pin, and owners Coolmore Stud said after the operation, “The leg has been re-cast and St Nicholas Abbey is now bearing weight on the fractured leg. This development has come sooner than we would have ideally liked, so the next week is a very tentative period for us. This morning St Nicholas Abbey is comfortable and is walking as well as can be expected. His temperament and demeanour are a tremendous plus both for him and the team treating him.”

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