Main Defender Set For SA Champions Season Assault

Son of Pathfork now a confirmed top miler

A dual graded stakes winner in open company, Tony Peter’s Main Defender is officially the top 3yo in South Africa after Saturday and it will be great news for racing fans on the East Coast that the son of Pathfork has three Hollywoodbets Greyville features on the radar for his 2024 SA Champions Season campaign.

The word from the Main Defender fan club headquarters in Johannesburg is that the brilliant Jagessar bred 3yo has come out of his scintillating victory in the Wilgerbosdrift Gr1 HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes on Classic day, ‘better than ever’.

Despite reservations that he may not stay the mile, and coming out of a horrific near accident with Melech at his prep run, Main Defender bounced clear of a class field on Saturday to beat Dave The King and reigning SA Horse Of The Year Princess Calla with ease in what was a thrilling career peak victory for his fans.

Kevin Nassif, Jaydin Nassif, Bronson Nassif, John Habib, Mark Nassif, Gerome Nassif & Frankie Zackey visit the champ at the yard (Pic – Supplied)

The news out of the happy camp is that, all going well, and subject to change, their all-time favourite horse will be aimed at the Gr2 WSB Guineas on 4 May, the Hollywoodbets Gr1 Gold Challenge on 8 June, and, most interestingly,  the HKJC World Pool Gr1 Champions Cup, where he will be tested over 1800m on 28 July.

Main Defender had two starts at Hollywoodbets Greyville last season. He won the BSA Sales Cup and was then beaten into second by Sandringham Summit in the World Pool Moment Of The Day Gr1 Premiers Champion Stakes.

Saturday was a memorable day for the Tony Peter camp, with four winners, including impressive victories by the undefeated Pistol Pete and Almond Sea in the 2yo features.

Poetry in motion – Main Defender storms home under Calvin Habib (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

With the historically friendly North versus South needle running at an all-time high this season, the 2024 SA Champions Season promises some vintage racing and is widely regarded as the national championships of SA horseracing.

The top six trainers on the national log are evenly divided, with Justin Snaith, Candice Bass-Robinson and Brett Crawford spearheading a Southern assault on the Northern contingent of Sean Tarry, Mike de Kock and the Tony Peter yard.

But the game doesn’t end there, with Johan Janse van Vuuren, Lucky Houdalakis, Dean Kannemeyer and Vaughan Marshall, amongst others, holding a few aces up their sleeves.

The SA Champions Season gets underway with a Gr2 triple feature on 4 May at Hollywoodbets Greyville.

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