Montjeu has been riding the crest of a wave this year in Europe and North America with St Nicholas Abbey (4h Montjeu x Leaping Water, by Sure Blade) putting the icing on the cake with a dominant victory in the Grade I Breeders Cup Turf.
Trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by his 18 year-old son Joseph, St Nicholas Abbey posted his first win outside Europe when racing clear for a two and a quarter length victory over the Juddmonte Farms entry Sea Moon.
Rated the Champion 2YO Colt in Europe in 2009 when he won the Grade I Racing Post Trophy, St Nicholas Abbey has mixed his form since then and started just once during his three year-old season as the result of injury.
He struck top form in June winning the Grade I Epsom Coronation Cup and was not far away in subsequent starts in top company, arriving in the US after finishing a gallant fifth in the Grade I Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
St Nicholas Abbey put his best foot forward at Churchill Downs to take his overall record to six wins and three placings from 11 starts with prizemoney of $US2.6 million.
“We had a nice pace and he picked up where it mattered,” said winning rider Joseph O’Brien.
“It wasn’t a mad pace, and he was comfortable and relaxed great. Obviously today it’s an easier track for him [than Longchamp]. I think he was a little better going left-handed here than right-handed in the Arc.
“The Arc was a rough race, and sometimes the best horse doesn’t always win. He travelled well today and looked great and picked up great.”
A 200,000 guinea purchase from the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, St Nicholas Abbey runs for Derrick Smith, Mrs John Magnier and Michael Tabor.
A half-brother to Grade II winner Grammarian, St Nicholas Abbey is from blue-blooded matron Leaping Water, a half-sister to Grade I winners Ballingarry, Starborough and Aristotle.