SINGAPORE (AFP) — More than 180 years of horse racing in Singapore is set to come to an end, with the city-state’s only racecourse closing and being redeveloped for housing.
The Singapore Turf Club (STC) said that the final race, the 100th Grand Singapore Gold Cup, will take place in October next year.
The club was founded in 1842 by a Scottish merchant and other horse-racing enthusiasts. The current racecourse in Kranji was opened in 2000, replacing the old Bukit Timah track.
“We are saddened by the decision of the government to close the club,” STC’s chairman Niam Chiang Meng said in a press release.
“At the same time, we understand the land needs of Singapore, including housing and other potential uses such as leisure and recreation,” he added.
The STC acknowledged that attendance at the racecourse had been declining over the past decade.
Racehorse owners and trainers will be offered support for horse maintenance and exportation, the club said.
There are about 700 racehorses at the club, according to local media.
The land will be returned to the government in 2027 and the 120-hectare (300 acres) site will be used for housing, including public housing.
“Singapore is a city-state with limited land,” the Ministry of National Development and the Ministry of Finance said in a joint statement.
“The government continually reviews its land use plans to meet today’s needs while ensuring there is sufficient land for future generations.”