Updated on 09/16/2011 7:38AM

Johannesburg flops; may be retired


Johannesburg's career took another downward lurch when he could finish only ninth of 12 behind Malhub in the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes, over six furlongs, at Royal Ascot on Saturday. He may well have run his last race, said his trainer, Aidan O'Brien.

The American sprinter Caller One was scratched after having been found to have a throat infection the previous day.

Last year's champion 2-year-old, Johannesburg was in trouble halfway through the race. Mick Kinane had Johannesburg a few lengths off the leaders, but when he began to push the colt along, there was no response.

O'Brien said the rigors of preparing Johannesburg for and running him in the Kentucky Derby took a lot out of the colt.

"The reality of it is that at the moment the horse has no more to give," O'Brien. "We'll take him home and see if he ever has a chance of making it back to where he used to be. Today he wasn't within 30 pounds of the horse he was last year. We gave him a break after Kentucky, but when he came back to start working again, our ground was so bad I was afraid to risk working him to see whether he was the same horse. When you bottom a horse like him, it's hard to get him back. It's very possible he won't run again."

Malhub, a son of Kingmambo bred in Kentucky by Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum's Shadwell Farm, was thought the least likely to win of three runners for the Sheikh. Richard Hills chose to ride Misraah (eighth), Willie Supple picked Mughaareb (10th), and the mount on the 16-1 winner was left to Kevin Darley.

Malhub was first or second throughout the race, and scored by 1 1/2 lengths over Danehurst, who took second from the Godolphin runner Three Points.

Malhub's trainer, John Gosden, said the July Cup at Newmarket on July 11 is the probable next race for him.

Johannesburg, who had been offered at 3-2 in the morning, started at 3-1, so his backers had plenty of warning that a top performance may not have been in the offing.

* Gerald Leigh, owner-breeder of this year's Irish 1,000 Guineas winner, Gossamer, died on Saturday morning. He had been fighting cancer for a long time.

* Pat Eddery rode his 4,994th winner in Britain on Lady Pahia at Goodwood on Friday night to pass Lester Piggott in second place on the all-time list. Eddery, 50, still has some way to go to catch Sir Gordon Richards, who won 4,870 races between 1921 and 1954.