After more than 180 years, Singapore will stage its farewell horse race.
The more than 180-year tradition of horse racing in Singapore is coming to an end.
The Singapore Turf Club, the small Southeast Asian country’s lone racecourse, will stage its final meeting next year.
The government of the country will reclaim the 120-hectare land, which will be used for public and private housing.
The course contains an event named for Queen Elizabeth II, who was an enthusiastic racegoer and horse breeder.
During a visit to Singapore in 1972, Her Majesty handed the first Queen Elizabeth II Cup. In 2006, she returned to the main event for the second time.
“Horse racing has a long and distinguished history in Singapore,” declared the Singapore Turf Club late Monday.
“With races continuing until the 100th Grand Singapore Gold Cup on 5 October 2024, the Club will continue to ensure the sportsmanship, safety, and integrity of every race,” the club said.
The Singapore Sporting Club was created in 1842 by Scottish merchant William Henry Macleod Read and several other fans of the sport.
They created a racetrack out of an area of semi-swampy soil in Farrer Park in central Singapore. The venue was renamed the Singapore Turf Club in 1924.
Horse racing proved popular not just with Europeans, but also with wealthy Malay and Chinese racegoers.
As horse racing grew in prominence on the island, the course was relocated to Bukit Timah in western Singapore in 1933.
The Singapore Turf Club relocated to its current home in Kranji, in the island’s north, in March 2000. The S$500 million ($370.9 million; £298 million) racetrack has a five-story grandstand with a capacity of 30,000 spectators.
The Singapore Turf Club, on the other hand, has suffered a fall in attendance over the last decade.
The area would be renovated for public and private homes to suit “future land use needs,” according to the country’s administration.
“Singapore is a city-state with a small land area. “The government is constantly reviewing its land use plans to meet current needs while ensuring that there is enough land for future generations,” it added.
The Ministry of National Development also stated that it would look into other potential uses for the area, including as leisure and recreation.