South African training stable, Magic Millions race will move to Murray Bridge

Murray Bridge Racing Club is quickly becoming a star attraction in South Australia's horse racing industry.

Murray Bridge Racing Club has had two big wins as it endeavours to become the centre of horse racing in South Australia.

On Friday, Thoroughbred Racing SA announced that the Magic Millions would move to Murray Bridge from 2021.

The $200,000 listed race will immediately become the richest to be held at the Gifford Hill racetrack each year.

The Gold Cup, previously the highlight of the local racing calendar, is worth half as much.

On Monday, TRSA then announced that South African trainers Gary and Dean Alexander would move their base of operations from that country’s premier racecourse – Turffontein, in Johannesburg – to Murray Bridge.

About 20 jobs will be created locally as they grow their local operation to around 80 horses.

“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,” Dean Alexander said.

“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.”

Only last week, TRSA had announced that local trainer Michael Hickmott would become the first to move his own operations to Gifford Hill.

Mr Hickmott will occupy 30 stables in a new facility which will be built at the racecourse using a $5 million state government grant and $1 million of industry funding.

Another facility intended to appeal to trainers – a sand training track – opened in Murray Bridge just last month.

TRSA chief executive officer Nick Redin said the recent announcements showed government investments in Murray Bridge Racing Club were paying dividends.

“SA is fast regaining its rightful place on the national stage,” he said.

“We are becoming a destination where participants want to live and work.

“We are seeing that through both trainers and riders moving back to SA starting to reverse the exodus of participants experienced over the last few years.”

Until now, the Magic Millions has traditionally been run on Adelaide Cup Day.

Its date will now come forward by nine days each year, to February 27 in 2021.

Four race days are already scheduled at Murray Bridge between now and then, including on New Year’s Day, January 9 and 16 and Australia Day.

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