Singapore government to end 180 years of horse racing in city
The Singapore government is set to turn its back on horse racing, with the Singapore Turf Club (STC) confirming on Monday the land on which Kranji racecourse sits will be redeveloped.
A final race meeting will be held on October 5, 2024, before the curtain comes down on the sport’s 180-year history in the Lion City and the land is handed back to the government in 2027.
Niam Chiang Meng, the club’s chairman, said they were “saddened by the decision of the government to close the club”.
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“At the same time, we understand the land needs of Singapore, including housing and other potential uses such as leisure and recreation.
“Singapore Turf Club recognises that the Kranji site is a valuable resource that can help meet the evolving needs and aspirations of Singaporeans, and this transition will serve to optimise land use for the greater good of the local community and future generations. We are aligned with the government on the need to invest in the future of Singapore.
“We will do our best to ensure business as usual for the club until our final race meeting. Concurrently, we will work with our stakeholders to ensure a smooth exit for local horse racing and make the necessary preparations for the estate to be handed over to the government by March 2027.”
Planning is in place for the 100th Grand Singapore Gold Cup to be the last race at Kranji, while it is believed wagering on overseas racing may continue.
There have been a number of factors behind racing’s demise in the city, with the STC confirming “attendance at the racecourse has been declining over the past decade”, while turnover has been shrinking amid competition for dollars since the opening of two casinos in 2010.
There have been prize money cuts in recent years, the horse population has been decreasing, and Covid led to fewer meetings, while Kranji’s two international races – the Singapore Airlines International Cup and the KrisFlyer International Sprint – were discontinued in 2015.
“Singapore Turf Club is extremely proud to have been the home of horse racing for nearly two centuries,” said STC president and chief executive Irene Lim.
“We are committed to seeing this phase of the nation’s history come to an end in a dignified manner befitting all our stakeholders, including employees, jockeys, racehorse owners, racehorse trainers, the equestrian community and horses that have graced our grounds.
“We hope to leave a lasting impression of the club that will be fondly and proudly remembered by Singapore and the world”.
Hong Kong horses have experienced plenty of success in the Lion City, most recently with the Caspar Fownes-trained Southern Legend winning back-to-back Kranji Miles in 2018 and 2019.
Fownes also won the KrisFlyer International Sprint three times – with Green Birdie in 2010 and Lucky Nine in 2013 and 2014 – while Ricky Yiu Poon-fai’s speed demon Sacred Kingdom claimed the race in 2009 and Aerovelocity prevailed for Paul O’Sullivan in 2015.
John Moore won the final three editions of the Singapore Airlines International Cup thanks to the victories of Military Attack in 2013 and Dan Excel in 2014 and 2015, while five-time Hong Kong champion jockey Zac Purton has a string of big-race wins at Kranji.
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