Classic plans for Johannesburg were thrown into confusion yesterday when the unbeaten record of last year's world champion juvenile was abruptly ended in the Gladness Stakes at the Curragh.
Despite starting at 1-3 and looking all over a winner inside the final furlong, Michael Kinane's mount was caught on the line and beaten a whisker by Rebelline, in the colours of the race sponsors, Castlemartin/La Louviere Studs.
"Johannesburg was a bit fresh and over-raced himself early on," the runner-up's trainer, Aidan O'Brien, said. "He got tired late, but he was beaten by a good filly."
Connections of the beaten favourite now have to decide whether to persevere with the original notion of running in the Kentucky Derby.
But O'Brien did confirm that his 2,000 Guineas favourite, Hawk Wing, would head straight to Newmarket without a preparatory run. Rock Of Gibraltar, owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, is likely to be aimed at the French 2,000 Guineas.Reuse content