When the British colonized Singapore, they introduced a new culture and new practices. Along with these is horse racing, which penetrated the local culture and stayed with the Singaporeans long after they were declared independent. After the first horse race happened in February of 1843, horse racing became one of the well-loved events in Singapore. Horse racing in Singapore remains popular and is considered a legal form of gambling.
The place where the first race was held was eventually named Race Course Road, which is now a street in Little India that is lined with restaurants specializing in fish head curry. Turf Club Road in Bukit Timah is another street whose name indicates the influence of horse racing in the culture. This was where Singapore Turf Club was originally located. It is presently dotted with Indonesian, Japanese, Indian, Chinese, and European restaurants.
The Singapore Turf Club is the only club dedicated to horse racing in Singapore. It used to known as the Singapore Sporting Club. Established in 1842, it continues to be the city-state’s sole legal gambling body for the sport. From its old location in Turf Club Road, the club transferred in 1999 to the Singapore Racecourse in Kranji where it is found today. The following year, the Singapore Racecourse was officially opened by Singapore president S. R. Nathan.
The Singapore Racecourse in Kranji, which is in northern Singapore, is a state-of-the-art race track located approximately 20 kilometers away from the city center. It was designed with utmost quality in mind. Aside from giving it its own unique features, the builders of Singapore Racecourse took some designs from the best racetracks in the world and incorporated those into Singapore Racecourse’s plan. One of the racetrack’s attractions is its four-storey Grandstand, which can amazingly hold a crowd of 30,000. The Singapore Racecourse has a Short Course track, a Long Course track, and a Polytrack, which is made from wax-coated fibers, rubber pieces, and silica sand.
Every year, almost 30 feature races are held in Kranji. There are races for Group 1 (major international races and classic races), Group 2 (international races that are not as significant as major ones), and Group 3 (domestic races) events. Each racing season will include 8 races from Group 1 events. A horse race meeting held at daytime commonly includes 9 to 12 races while one held at nighttime includes 7 to 9 races. Horse racing in Singapore follows the racing rules of the Malayan Racing Association, of which the Singapore Turf Club is a part.
Some of the most awaited events every year are the Singapore Airlines International Cup, a 2,000-meter race for middle distance gallopers; the Singapore Gold Cup, a 2,200-meter race held each November; the Singapore Derby, a 2,000-meter race held each July specifically for four-year-olds; and the KrisFlyer International Sprint, a 1,200-meter race intended for sprinters and held each May. From its colorful history, horse racing in Singapore has become an established sport and has earned the interest of so many people.