The sport of horse racing in Singapore, which has a history spanning over 180 years, is about to end.
The only racetrack in the teeny-tiny Southeast Asian nation of Singapore will run its last race in 2019, according to a recent announcement by the Singapore Turf Club.
The government of nation is going to reclaim the 120-hectare plot of land, which is going to be used for public as well as private homes.
One of the races at the track is named after Queen Elizabeth II, a devoted fan of the sport and a successful breeder of racehorses.
During a visit to Singapore 1972, Her Majesty awarded Singapore with the first-ever Queen Elizabeth II Cup. Her Majesty has now passed away. The following year, in 2006, she went to the main event once again.
“With races continuing until the 100th Grand Singapore Gold Cup on October 5, 2024, the Club will continue to ensure the sportsmanship, safety, and integrity of every race,” the statement continued. “This will continue until the 100th Grand Singapore Gold Cup.”
The Singapore Sporting Club was established in 1842 by Scottish businessman William Henry Macleod Read and a number of other sporting enthusiasts. This was the year that the sport was first played in Singapore.
They created a racetrack in Farrer Park, which is located in the middle of Singapore, in an area that was formerly marshy. The Singapore Turf Club was established at this location in 1924 and has retained its name ever since.
It turned out that horse racing was popular not only with Europeans but also with wealthy Malay and Chinese racegoers, as evidenced by the fact that meets attracted them.
Because of the growing interest in horse racing on the island in the year 1933, the track was relocated to its current, more spacious location at Bukit Timah in western Singapore.
The Singapore Turf Club relocated to its current home at Kranji, which is located in the north of the island, in March of the year 2000. The five-story grandstand at the S$500 million ($370.9 million; £298 million) racecourse can accommodate a total of 30,000 spectators.
The country’s government announced the site would be renovated for public and private homes to fulfil “future land use needs”.
“Singapore is a city-state with limited land. The government continuously examines its land use policies to fulfil today’s demands while ensuring there is adequate space for future generations,” it added.
The Ministry of National Development also said it would explore other uses for the site, including leisure and recreation facilities.