Morphettville Parks: First local win for trainers Gary and Dean Alexander after anxious protest wait

Ex-South African trainers Gary and Dean Alexander survived a long protest at Morphettville Parks before celebrating their first win in Australia.

Emotions fluctuated for former leading South African trainer Gary Alexander who was forced to sit through a protest before he could celebrate his first win on Australian soil at Morphettville Parks on Saturday.

Alexander, who trains with his brother Dean with multi Group 1 winners to their name in their homeland, saddled up Brazen Force, their first horse in Australia, in a Benchmark 82 over 1250m.

Ridden with dash by another former South African rider Barend Vorster, the winner held out Comfort Girl ($3.10f) in a driving finish – Jason Holder firing in a protest on the second horse for alleged interference over the last 100m.

After a lengthy hearing stewards dismissed the protest.

But a cool Gary, who celebrated his birthday during the week, said it was a thrill to win and that the protest was a part of racing.

“I was involved in a protest back home in a $1m race. That’s racing, that’s part of it,’’ Gary said.

“It is a thrill to win our first race with this horse, our first here. Barend (Vorster) said the horse was keen early and didn’t settle so he had to let him go. He ran a nice third at his last run so we thought we were a chance.

“My brother Dean isn’t here today. It’s his birthday today and his wife bought him a holiday on the Gold Coast. I think he might be spewing he missed this.”

The brothers are expected to settle their stables in Murray Bridge in January 2022.

A start in the Listed City of Marion Stakes on November 27 looks a certainty for flying mare Trip after an outstanding win.

Sharing top billing in the market at $5.50 with Tommy Blue and Terbium, the David Jolly-trained five-year-old jumped straight to the front in a Benchmark 82 over 1250m giving her rivals virtually no chance after setting a strong pace.

Ridden a bold and confident race by Sophie Logan, Trip cruised in to account for Designer Chef ($7) and Tommy Blue, while Kenyan Wonder made good ground for fourth after settling last.

Fancied runners Terbium and Extra Time were way out of their ground early after drawing wide and were never a chance.

Trip, which finetuned for her engagement with a recent trial at Oakbank, has chalked up six wins and 10 placings from 28 starts.

Jolly said Saturday’s win was most impressive.

“She got in today with no weight and she just loves the Parks track,’’ Jolly said.

“We are probably looking at the City of Marion in a few weeks, she ran well in that race last year.

“She’s good this time of the year. The tracks get quick, she’s on pace and keeps running.

“Maybe the Christmas Handicap could be the go too. I wouldn’t be opposed to find a mare’s race in Melbourne on quick ground too. She needs good tracks.’’

Trainer Heather Lehmann was all smiles when debutant Emerald Court ($7) set her rivals a merry chase in a maiden over 1000m.

Ridden boldly by Logan, the first of a double for the rider, the winner proved too strong for Fields of Athenry ($7) and Johnny Thunder ($4.60).

Progressive stayer Nobel Heights ($1.75f) showed the locals just what class he possessed with a spirited win in the Claude Haigh Memorial over 2250m.

In a battle for the early lead before taking over and then being pestered by Nudge Bar before the turn, Nobel Heights shook off all-comers to win impressively, accounting for Exalted Ambition and an eye-catching third by Canford.

But the winner did it at both ends. Ridden a bold race by Barend Vorster, the Matt Cumani-trained runner based at Ballarat looks a type bound for higher duties.

Leading apprentice Ben Price continued on his winning way by guiding the Will Clarken-trained Noname Lane to victory in a Benchmark 72 over 1550m after leading throughout, the winner a noted drifter from $1.70 to $3.10.

Price, like most jockeys, had a short turnaround from the Port Lincoln meeting on Friday.

He steered the Travis Doudle-trained Fallow to victory in the final event at Lincoln at 6.55pm and then saluted in the Parks opener.

He brought up a double on Pinot Party in the final event.

Larkham ($3.70) chalked up its first win since March 2021 when it took out a Benchmark 60 over 1000m, giving jockey Jacob Opperman and trainer Ryan Balfour success.

The winner took over in the straight to hold out a diving Gaze Grise and early leader Squizzy Mizzy.

The race also saw Lizzie Annells ride in her first metropolitan event, taking Sea Witness to the front early before finishing sixth.

Angus Chung also made his metro debut on the day, his first ride being on Turf Man which ran sixth.

Originally published as Morphettville Parks: First local win for trainers Gary and Dean Alexander after anxious protest wait

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