Kranji Racecourse (racenet.com.au)
By Adam Dobbin (Racenet.co.au)
A thunderbolt has struck the worldwide thoroughbred racing landscape with news that the Singapore Turf Club will cease racing in October, 2024.
In announcing the cessation of racing following 180 years of steep history, a devastated Singaporean racing community was told the final meeting, featuring the 100th Grand Singapore Gold Cup, will be staged on October 5, 2024.
Rumours about the future of racing at Kranji being under a dark cloud had been swirling in recent months with suggestions racing could draw to a close by 2026.
But in a move that has left local industry stakeholders reeling, racing will cease next year before the vast and hugely valuable 126-hectare Kranji facility is returned to the Singapore Government.
“We are saddened by the decision of the Government to close the Club,” Niam Chiang Meng, Chairman of the Singapore Turf Club, said.
“At the same time, we understand the land needs of Singapore, including housing and other potential uses such as leisure and recreation.
“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.
“We are aligned with the Government on the need to invest in the future of Singapore.”
Racing at the famous Kranji racecourse launched in early 2000, marking a significant moment in the sport’s rich history.
Singapore racing was at its peak when local legend Rocket Man was at the height of his powers, winning 17 from 17 on home soil along with Group 1 wins in Hong Kong and Dubai.
In the saddle, it was champion hoop João Moreira which captured headlines when in Singapore, breaking all sorts of records during his tenure, and driving plenty of publicity for racing.
Singapore Turf Club President and Chief Executive Irene Lim said the club is extremely proud to have been the home of racing for nearly two centuries.
“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,” she said.
“We hope to leave a lasting impression of the Club that will be fondly and proudly remembered by Singapore and the world.”