Space-starved Singapore will end 180 years of horse racing to make way for housing

The space starved island state of Singapore is bringing the curtain down on more than 180 years of horse racing with its sole racecourse set to be handed back to the government to make way for public housing.

The final race at the Singapore Turf Club will be the 100th Grand Singapore Gold Cup on 5th October 2024.

Located in the northwestern suburb of Kranji, the Southeast Asian nation’s racecourse sits on 300 acres of land – roughly more than 200 football fields.

It will be returned to government by 2027, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of National Development

The site will be redeveloped to meet the country’s future needs for housing and potentially include venues for leisure and recreation, it added.

“Singapore is a city-state with limited land. The government continually reviews its land use plans to meet today’s needs while ensuring there is sufficient land for future generations,” the ministries said.

Singapore is densely packed with just under 6 million people living in a space slightly smaller than New York City. Over 80% of residents live in public housing and undeveloped land is scarce.

Niam Chiang Meng, the club’s chairman, said in a statement that they were “saddened by the decision of the government to close the club.”

“Singapore Turf Club recognizes that the Kranji site is a valuable resource that can help meet the evolving needs and aspirations of Singaporeans, and this transition will serve to optimize land use for the greater good of the local community and future generations,” Niam said.

Despite its long history, horse racing in the city state has seen a decline in viewership over the past decade, the club added.

The late Queen Elizabeth II, who had an enduring passion for horse racing, visited the former British colony of Singapore in 1972 to present an inaugural cup in her name, and attended a race there for a second time in 2006, according to its official national archives.

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