Coolmore and partners' St Nicholas Abbey notched a record third consecutive Investec Coronation Cup (Eng-I) victory in convincing style on Derby day June 1 at Epsom.
The 6-year-old Montjeu horse powered from near the back of the field and comfortably held off the charge of Australian champion stayer Dunaden to win by 3 3/4 lengths.
St Nicholas Abbey, the 3-10 favorite with the Racing Post, relaxed in fourth place early with main rival Dunaden last in the five-horse field. The eventual winner took charge from dueling pacesetters Chapter Seven and Chamonix a quarter-mile out to secure the unprecedented score under Joseph O'Brien.
Timed in 2:37.76 for 1 1/2 miles, St Nicholas Abbey won for the second time in as many starts this season. He came into the Coronation Cup following his victory over Japanese champion Gentildonna in the Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-I) March 30 at Meydan after closing 2013 as the third-place finisher in the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) Nov. 3 at Santa Anita Park.
"Whatever it is, over the winter he's matured; he lobs down to the start on a long rein and you can put him where you like in his races," O'Brien told England's Press Association. "On his blow at home the other morning he was exceptional, better than he has ever been.
"He's a force to be reckoned with this year; I don't see why he can't be the best around over middle distances," the jockey added.
Joshua Tree pursued the pacesetters from third and finished in the same position.
Trained by Aidan O'Brien, St Nicholas Abbey posted his ninth win from 20 career starts and sixth at the group I level. He won last year's Coronation Cup by a 4 1/2 lengths from 2013 Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) runner-up Red Cadeaux and the 2011 edition by a length from Midday.
His record also includes a win in the 2011 Breeders' Cup Turf at Churchill Downs and a runner-up finish in the 2012 Dubai Sheema Classic. He was Europe's champion juvenile male of 2009 after an undefeated season that included the Racing Post Trophy (Eng-I).
Bred in Ireland by Barton Bloodstock and Villiers Syndicate, St Nicholas Abbey is out of the unraced Sure Blade mare Leaping Water. She also produced U.S. multiple grade II winner Grammarian, who was grade I-placed. Leaping Water is a half sister to a trio of group I winners: Ballingarry, Aristotle, and Starborough.