For almost two centuries, horse racing has been a fixture in Singapore, with punters heading to the Singapore Turf Club for their fix.
This will soon end forever, as the Turf Club is closing down their premises for good in March 2027.
Their 350 employees will be progressively retrenched.
The momentous news was announced in a joint press release by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and Ministry of National Development (MND) on Monday (5 June).
While the Turf Club’s facility in Kranji will officially shut down by March 2027, their races will stop even earlier than that.
The last race is scheduled to be on 5 Oct 2024.
The Turf Club’s racecourse occupies some 120 hectares of land, the ministries said.
This is larger than the entire Gardens By The Bay, which is 101ha.
This massive piece of land will be handed back to the Government in March 2027.
After that, it will be prepared and redeveloped for housing use, including the building of HDB flats.
MND is also studying other potential uses for it, including leisure and recreation, and will give an update on the plans after the assessments are completed.
Local horse racing has been experiencing declining spectatorship, they noted, adding,
The Government has decided that redeveloping the Singapore Racecourse site will allow for the land occupied by the racecourse and its surroundings to be holistically master planned to better meet our future land use needs.
The Turf Club currently has about 350 employees, according to The Straits Times (ST).
Unfortunately, they will all be retrenched.
The retrenchment will be carried out in phases starting from October 2024, the press release said.
Staff let go will get retrenchment packages that take into consideration their length of service.
They will also receive transition support, such as counselling, job placement assistance, personal career guidance, and skills training courses to help them to find other jobs.
As for the horses, they will all be exported.
The club currently houses about 700 racehorses and 38 livery horses.
Their exportation will start after the last race in 2024, and will be finished by March 2026.
In a statement on Monday (5 June), Turf Club Chairman Niam Chiang Meng said they’re “saddened” by the Government’s decision to close the club.
However, he understands the land needs of Singapore and that the Kranji site is a “valuable resource” for Singaporeans, he added, noting,
This transition will serve to optimise land use for the greater good of the local community and future generations.
President and Chief Executive Irene Lim said over the next three years, affected employees will have “ample time” to consider their career options and manage their personal commitments.
The club will also provide support to ensure a smooth handover of the land.
The Turf Club has a history stretching more than 180 years, dating back to its founding in 1842 as the Singapore Sporting Club.
They’re one of Singapore’s oldest social clubs, holding their first race on 23 Feb 1843 with a prize of just S$150.
The club moved to Bukit Timah in 1933 — where Turf City is now located — and shifted to their current Kranji premises in 1999.
Its closure will bring a definitive end to horse racing in Singapore.
Now that yet another local landmark is heading towards the exit door, will you be visiting it before it closes for good? Do share your thoughts with us.
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