Champion and Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Johannesburg suffered a shock defeat on his seasonal debut at The Curragh on Sunday, which must throw a serious doubt over his participation in the Kentucky Derby.The Aidan O'Brien-trained colt was beaten a short head in the Gladness Stakes by the 4-year-old filly Rebelline, who was giving him 11lb. The winner completed the seven furlongs in 1:31.7 on yielding turf.All had seemed well as Michael Kinane tracked stablemate Shoal Creek, but Johannesburg took time to go past him and was caught close home by Rebelline, who would have been an unlucky loser having suffered trouble in running.
Afterwards O'Brien admitted: "There is not much I can say, although I probably wouldn't have been able to say much more had he won. Everything is still up in the air and it would have been had he won."Johannesburg started a 1-3 favourite for the Gladness, a race in which favorites and 3-year-olds do not have a good record.Shoal Creek finished third, a length behind Johannesburg, with Gaelic Queen fourth, Tarry Flynn fifth, One Won One sixth, and Cool Clarity last of seven.