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South African trainer Gary Alexander sets up in Australia

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Gary Alexander

Leading South African racehorse trainer Gary Alexander is heading to Australia after unveiling plans to set up an operation in mid-2021.

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With over 1500 winners from 30 years training in his native South Africa, Alexander’s thirst for success will lead to him trying something completely new. That’s because he and brother Dean are to set up a new yard at Murray Bridge racecourse in South Australia and try to replicate their success in Australian horse racing.

The news was revealed by Thoroughbred Racing South Australia, who have pulled off the coup by persuading the South African pair to head to the new training centre at Murray Bridge rather than one of the more popular training facilities in Melbourne and Sydney.

“Gary and I are looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead and are super excited about the opportunity that has been afforded to us by Thoroughbred Racing South Australia (TRSA),” Dean said when discussing the move to Australia.

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“It is encouraging and attractive to see the facilities that will be available at Murray Bridge. From what we can gather this will be a world-class training facility and that is exactly where we want to be, in order to give our horses the best opportunity of success.”

The Alexander brothers will take a rich history of success with them across the Indian Ocean to Adelaide before setting up their stable at Murray Bridge, which is located an hour’s drive east of the South Australian capital.

Gary Alexander first started training in 1982 having been destined to do so as the son of jockey-turned-trainer Duncan. Training out of Turffontein Racecourse in Johannesburg, he has saddled more than 100 Group and listed winners and more than 1500 winners in total during his illustrious career.

In 2000, having teamed up with younger brother Dean, history was made. The pair created history by setting a new record for the most winnings in a single day in South Africa after they won two Group 1s and a Group 2 on the same Turffontein programme.

The history was created when Silver Sliver won the Group 1 SA Derby, Drum Star landed the Group 1 Champions Stakes and Lady Of The Turf took out the Group 2 Gold Bowl.

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Other Group 1 winners for the Alexanders include Hero’s Honour in the SA Derby, Blueridge Mountain in the Majorca Stakes, Pierre Jourdan       in the SA Classic, James Jaguar in the Champions Cup, Timber Trader in the SA Derby, Drum Star in the Horse Chestnut, Ruby Clipper in the Alan Robertson, Final Claim in the Garden Province, Tommy Hotspur in the Computaform Sprint and Mosszao in the Gold Bowl, who was the first elite level success.

Underlining just how successful the pair have been together is the fact they have twice pulled off six-timers with six winners on a day at Turffontein.

After failed attempts to set up stables in Hong Kong and Singapore in the past, it is a move to Australia instead.

The Alexander name will not be leaving South Africa though with the family presence set to continue at Turffontein in combination with the new venture at Murray Bridge in Australia.

The Alexanders aren’t the first South Africans to be making a move into the Australian training ranks. That’s because Matthew De Kock, the son of leading South African trainer Mike, made the switch in October when beginning a partnership with trainer Robbie Griffiths at Cranbourne in Victoria.

De Kock senior, who has trained 126 Group 1 winners in South Africa, had initially planned to set up a satellite yard in Australia. But instead it is son Matthew who will take the first steps into Australian racing in combination with Griffiths.

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