Singapore to end horse racing amid slumping spectatorship

By Hoang Nguyen   June 6, 2023 | 06:18 am PT
Singapore to end horse racing amid slumping spectatorship
A race at Singapore Turf Club. Photo by AFP/Mohd Fyrol
Horse racing in Singapore will be discontinued next year as the government plans to redevelop the site of the decreasingly popular Singapore Turf Club into housing.

The Singapore Turf Club (STC), the island city state’s only racecourse, will host its final race on October 5, 2024 and complete its full closure by March 2027, the government and STC announced jointly on Monday.

The STC site, which encompasses 120 hectares in Kranji, a suburb in northwestern Singapore, will be redeveloped and used for housing, said a joint statement by the Ministry of National Development and Ministry of Finance.

At a press conference on Monday, Second Minister for Finance and National Development Indranee Rajah said that the closure of STC was "not an easy decision, but necessary," as there has been increasing demand for land in Singapore.

Spectatorship has also dropped significantly recently. The average attendance per race per day had declined from 11,000 in 2010 to about 6,000 in 2019, Channel News Asia reported.

After the post-lockdown reopening of STC in 2022, average attendance was only 2,600 per day.

Some parts of the local community, including punters and stakeholders, have reacted with frustration to the news.

"Suddenly you feel so lost as you and your kakis look forward to every weekend’s races, which you have religiously been following for almost half a century since the Bukit Timah days," Danny Pillai, 75, a retiree and ardent racing fan told The Strait Times.

"Bukit Timah" refers to an old racetrack in Singapore that operated for 60 years from 1933 to 1993.

Singapore Turf Club was founded in 1842 and is currently Singapore's only horse racing club.

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