Over 180 years of horse racing in Singapore come to an end

Over 180 years of horse racing in Singapore come to an end

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Horses ridden by working riders during a Singapore Turf Club track working session on May 15, 2014 in Singapore.

Neville Hopwood | Getty Images Sports | Getty Images

After years of placing their faith and money on different horses, seasoned gamblers will soon be making their last bets and bidding farewell to Singapore’s only racecourse.

The Singapore Turf Club announced on Monday that it would hold its final race in October 2024, closing a 180-year-old chapter in horse racing in the city-state.

“We are saddened by the government’s decision to close the Club. At the same time, we understand Singapore’s land needs, including housing and other potential uses such as recreation and recreation,” Turf Club Chairman Niam Chiang Meng said in a press release. He also noted that the racetrack has seen a decline in in-person attendance over the past decade.

Housing demand in Singapore has soared, pushing up the private residential property price index in the first quarter of 2023 by 11% compared to the same period last year.

“Young people don’t bet on horses, they now go to casinos,” Jimmy, a 67-year-old avid horse racing bettor from Singapore, told CNBC, adding that races were only held once a week. weekdays on Saturdays and at 30-minute intervals. .

A general view of the paddock at Kranji Racecourse on May 25, 2019 in Singapore. The Singapore Turf Club announced on Monday that it would hold its final race in October 2024, closing an 18-year chapter in horse racing.

Lo Chun pencil case | Getty Images Sports | Getty Images

That frequency wouldn’t be fast enough for some bettors compared to the speed and convenience offered by casinos that operate 24/7, he suggested.

Singapore’s one and only horse racing club was founded in 1842 and boasts a grandstand with a capacity of 30,000. It is operated at three sites, starting with Farrer Park, then Bukit Timah, then Kranji. The current running club currently occupies 120 hectares of land in Kranji.

And it was in these stands that Jimmy met his peers.

“I lost more money than I made of course,” he chuckled. “But I made some good friends there.”

When asked what his favorite steed was, Jimmy joked, “If I say it out loud, he won’t win again!” hinting at a betting superstition that suggests splitting the horses you have placed your bets on will lessen your chances of winning.

Horse jockeys rush from the starting point of a race at the Singapore Airlines International Cup at the Singapore Turf Club May 11, 2002

Roslan Rahman | AFP | Getty Images

About 700 horses will be exported and more than 300 employees will be laid off in phases, according to a statement from the Ministry of Finance. Trainers and racehorse owners will also receive support for exporting horses, the finance ministry said.

Contractual obligations will also be honored for Singapore Turf Club tenants and livery horse owners. A boarding stable is where horse owners pay a fee to keep their horses.

Singaporean estate agent Travis Low Jia Meng said he was saddened by the closure of the racecourse.

“It takes us back to our British roots. If you look at Hong Kong, Australia and the UK, they all have a horse racing heritage,” Low said.

“But I understand the earthly space it took up.”

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