Singapore Turf Club
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The Singapore Turf Club was founded in 1842 as the Singapore Sporting Club to operate the Serangoon Road Race Course at Farrer Park. It is today the only horse-racing club in Singapore and is part of the Malayan Racing Association (MRA), which also regulates the three Turf Clubs in Malaysia, the Selangor Turf Club, Penang Turf Club and Perak Turf Club. The Singapore Turf Club is the only authorised operator of horse racing, and totalisator (horse betting) services in Singapore. It is the agent and proprietary club of the Tote Board, Singapore, who manages and directs its donation of surplus funds for charitable purposes. The first race was held on 23 February 1843 when prize money on offer was only $150. In 1924, the Club changed its name to the Singapore Turf Club. This was done to reflect its role as a horse racing club more accurately. The Club moved to Bukit Timah in 1933 before relocating to its present location at the Singapore Racecourse at Kranji in 1999. The racecourse is adjacent to Kranji MRT Station.
Racing is staged all year round on almost every Friday and Sunday. Most of the 100-odd race meetings are restricted to locally trained horses, except for the two International races in May, the Singapore Airlines International Cup and the KrisFlyer International Sprint, and certain cross-border races open to Malaysian-based horses.
Since there is no breeding industry in Singapore, all its thoroughbred bloodstock is imported from overseas, primarily from Australia and New Zealand, while a minority comes from other countries like Japan, England, Ireland, France, South Africa, America and Germany.
Horse owners, made up of both Singaporeans and foreigners, purchase horses and send them to any of the 26 trainers currently licensed at Kranji. Currently, there are 14 expatriates and 12 local trainers.
The pool of jockeys available consists mainly of locally trained jockeys and apprentices all licensed by the MRA and around 10 expatriate jockeys, whose licences are granted by the Singapore Turf Club over a specific period of time (as short as one-day for short-term licences and from three months to one year for longer-term licences). All licences are subject to renewal depending on performances and conduct.
The jewel in the crown of the racing calendar is without any doubt the S$3 million Group 1 Singapore Airlines International Cup (SAIC), which was first held in 2000 in conjunction with the opening of the Singapore Racecourse at Kranji. It is held in May, coupled with its sister sprint race, the S$1 million Group 1 KrisFlyer International Sprint run over 1200 metres.
Both events are part of the Singapore International Racing Festival (SIRF), which will be attended by some of the world's top owners, jockeys and trainers, and are International Group 1 races open to horses from around the world. The KrisFlyer was conferred even more recognition in 2011 when it became the fourth leg of the Global Sprint Challenge.
The Singapore Gold Cup is considered as the most prestigious race on the Singapore racing calendar and is traditionally held at the end of November. Contested on turf, the domestic Group 1 handicap race is run over a distance of 2200 metres and is open to horses aged three and older.
The Singapore Gold Cup is the third leg of the Singapore Triple Crown, after the Kranji Mile and the Raffles Cup.
First run in 1924 at the Serangoon Road Race Course at Farrer Park, the time-honoured race saw its first winner Thelasocrete take top honours and bag the (at the time) princely sum of $1,600 as prize money.
In the rich history of the handicap race, trainer Ivan Allan holds the record for the most number of successes, having saddled up the winner on five occasions. Owner Jerry Sung of Auric Stables has also won the Cup a similar number of times. Another Gold Cup record is held by Tan Eng Joo, whose horse Three Rings won the Cup an unprecedented three times in 1954, 1956, 1957.
In 1958, Abdul Mawi became the first local jockey to win the Gold Cup. In 2008, El Dorado became the first Japanese-bred horse trained in Singapore to win the Gold Cup and he then doubled the feat by landing the race the next year (2009), to become the first horse to do so since Grenadier in 1965 and 1966.
To mark its move from Bukit Timah to Kranji in 1999, the Singapore Turf Club raised the prize money to $1 million and opened the race to international contenders, but the race returned to domestic status three years later. The prize money for the Group 1 event has since been raised to $1.35 million.
In 2010, Swiss watchmaker Longines embarked on a landmark partnership with the Singapore Turf Club. As part of the partnership, Longines is the official partner and timekeeper of the Singapore Turf Club from 2010 to 2015 and the “Singapore Gold Cup” has been renamed “Longines Singapore Gold Cup”.
In 2016, the Singapore Gold Cup was renamed to "Dester Singapore Gold Cup" with a new sponsor, Lubritrade Distribution. Lubritrade owns the premium beer brand, Dester 100% Malt.
The Emirates Singapore Derby is one of the most prestigious races on the Singapore racing calendar and is held every mid-July. This race is staged on turf and is contested over 2000 metres. The race is open to four-year-old racehorses only and carries a prize pool of $1 million.
This popular classic was formerly known as the Singapore Derby until 1995, when Dubai-based Emirates Airlines embarked with a partnership with Singapore Turf Club, cementing Singapore’s credentials as a leading international sporting hub.
Inaugurated in 1880 at the Serangoon Road Race Course in Farrer Park, it was regularly conducted there until 1910 when it was cancelled. It was not until 1959 that the Singapore Derby was resurrected by the Singapore Turf Club. Since then it has been staged at the Bukit Timah Racecourse until 1999 when the Club relocated the Singapore Racecourse at Kranji.
Since its inception the race has been contested over various distances close to 2400 metres until 1998 when the distance was set at 2000 metres.
Legendary trainer Ivan Allan has won the Derby a staggering nine times, a record which may never be surpassed. The Auric Stable has registered the most number of wins in the Derby – five times in 1970, 1975, 1990, 1995 and 1996, while Australian jockey Johnny Wilson holds the record of most wins with three (1963, 1972 and 1975).
November Sun, Feu Vert and Courtline Jester are the only horses to have won the Derby twice.
The Singapore Derby is now the third Leg of the Singapore Four-Year Challenge after the Stewards’ Cup and the Patron’s Bowl. Japanese mare Jolie’s Shinju is the last horse to have won all three Legs (2009), though the first two Legs were then slated as the Patron’s Bowl and the Singapore Derby Trial.
Lion City CupEdit
The Lion City Cup is widely considered as Singapore’s premier domestic sprint race and is held in April. The domestic Group 1 race is run over a distance of 1200 metres and is open to horses aged three and older.
Launched in 1974, it quickly became the most prestigious of the sprint classics on the local circuit. War Plan’s Cup win in 1990 was beamed "live" to Hong Kong and in turn local racegoers were treated to a telecast of the Hong Kong Derby.
At its new home at Kranji, Superb Effect scored consecutive wins in 2000 and 2001. It was then the turn of another Charles Leck-trained sprinter Classic Marco who took the honours in 2002. Que Expresion became the first Argentinian-bred horse to win the Cup in 2003.
Singapore’s globetrotting sprinting star Rocket Man holds the record of most number of wins when his name was added to the roll of honour four times with wins recorded consecutively from 2009 to 2012.
The Raffles Cup is the second Leg of the Singapore Triple Crown Challenge and is normally held in October at Kranji. Run on turf over 1800m, the domestic Group 1 race is open to horses aged three years old and older.
Named after Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, the Raffles Cup was first run in 1991 at the old Bukit Timah Race Course with its distance first pegged at 1600m before it was raised to 1800m in 2001.
Though it has only a relatively short history, many top gallopers have inscribed their names to the Raffles Cup roll of honour with the most notable ones including Ouzo (1999), Smart Bet (2002), Zirna (2003) and most recently Better Than Ever (2010).
Trainer Teh Choon Beng boasts the highest rate of success in the Raffles Cup having won the race four times in 1991, 1993, 1994 and 1995. Jockeys Kim Clapperton (1993 to 1995) and Saimee Jumaat (1999, 2008 and 2010) are joint leaders with three wins apiece.
Races from Australia, Hong Kong, South Africa, Malaysia, UK, France, Macau, Korea and occasionally Japan, Dubai, New Zealand and USA are also shown live at the Turf Club, nine off-course betting centres and four betting outlets.
One of the latest novelties in the ever-changing betting landscape in Singapore is the introduction of Tricast, which is the telecast of three race meetings during the same racing hours on a raceday.
All wagering on both Singapore and simulcast races is operated and administered by the Singapore Turf Club on behalf of the Singapore Totalisator Board, using an electronic Pari-Mutuel system. Bets can be placed through the following manners:
- Betting counters at the Singapore Turf Club Racecourse at Kranji on raceways.
- Betting counters at nine Off Course Betting Centres and four Off Course Betting Outlets
- Singapore Pools Branches (including LiveWire and SportsBuzz)
- Self-Betting Kiosks
- Telebet account holders using TeleTote, MobileTote, Electronic Fund Transfer and AXS, Winners’ Touch System or calling directly via Operator-Assisted Betting.
Governed by its own set of Rules and Regulations, Singapore Turf Club offers a myriad of bets such as Win, Place, Roll Win, Forecast, Place Forecast, Tierce, Trio, Quartet and Quadro.
In its quest to enhance its range of betting products and in line with the globalisation of horse racing, the Singapore Turf Club has become one of the many racing organisations to embrace commingling.
Commingling of pools is the process where one totalisator organisation combines its wagering pool with another to create one common dividend. With commingling being well established in many wagering organisations around the world, it was not long before the Singapore Turf Club joined in.
In a landmark agreement made in January 2009, the Singapore Totalisator pool combined with Tabcorp Australia’s Victorian pool. One of the main benefits of commingling is that customers can bet with more confidence as bigger pools will bring about dividends stability and potentially better dividends.
For a start, only WIN and PLACE bets are commingled. It is anticipated that other bet types will be included in the future.
Events and EntertainmentEdit
Besides horse racing, the Singapore Racecourse is the venue for many other events and activities which aim to promote a variety of disciplines. For example, the very popular Open Day known as Fun For All Under The Stars is an event which always attracts big crowds as it gives the chance to people under 18 years of age (the age limit for admission to the races) to be exposed to the exciting world of horse racing. Barrier trials are held and never fail to fascinate the young and the not so young. No wagering is offered on such nights, which are normally held twice a year during the school holidays. Other regularly held events that fall outside the main business core of horse racing include the Singapore Symphony Orchestra concerts, Ladies’ Night (including fashion shows) and Horseshoe Pitching contest (during the Singapore International Racing Festival in May), among others. Rooms are also available for rental for corporate functions and other events.
The Kranji Racecourse, which sprawls over almost 100 acres, is equipped with state-of-the-art training facilities. The amenities include a swimming pool, treadmills, horse walkers and a total of seven tracks of both turf, synthetic tracks (Polytrack and Tapeta) as well as sand. The latest addition to the tracks was a 1000m long uphill track (Polytrack) completed in February 2010. Taking into account Singapore’s wet weather, all tracks consist of an efficient underground drainage network which minimises waterlogging by draining off the rainwater within minutes after even the heaviest of downpours, maintaining a safe racing surface at all times.
Recently renovated in 2013, the Singapore Turf Club Veterinary Hospital is a modern, fully equipped facility and is staffed by qualified and experienced equine veterinary surgeons. Owners and trainers of visiting horses from overseas can expect the full range and quality of veterinary services available at any major racing centre.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)Edit
Through Singapore Totalisator Board (also known as Tote Board) which manages the funding activities, the Singapore Turf Club plays its part in making Singapore a stronger nation with better people. The Singapore Turf Club is a non-profit organisation and any surplus revenue is donated to charitable organisations on a regular basis.
The Singapore Turf Club has been adopting a charitable organisation over many years. The current adopted charity is Melrose Home and past charities that the Club has adopted include Club Rainbow (Singapore) and Thye Hua Kwan EIPIC Centre @ Woodlands. Through regular activities for these kids, the Club endeavours to give the less fortunate, the poor, weak, sick or disabled a better life.
The Singapore Turf Club also adopts a strong Play Responsibly stand. It strongly advocates to its customers to have fun enjoying the sport of horse racing, that it should just be a little flutter which will not adversely affect their finances or lifestyle.
Various companies act as sponsors to some feature races in Singapore, the most famous being Singapore Airlines (Singapore Airlines International Cup and KrisFlyer International Sprint), Longines (Singapore Gold Cup), Emirates Airline (Singapore Derby), Panasonic (Kranji Mile) and Magic Millions, Inglis, Aushorse and IRT (Singapore Golden Horseshoe series) and Japan Bloodhorse Breeders’ Association (Moonbeam Vase) among others.
Such partnership is valued at the Singapore Turf Club as the benefits are manifold for both parties. When such prestigious brands lend their names to the races, it certainly increases the awareness of horse racing as a sport. Such companies stand everything to gain as well as the added exposure on a different platform can only boost their brand and corporate image, and ultimately sales figures.
The Singapore Turf Club also runs a subsidiary equestrian riding centre, which was opened on 24 June 2010 and was used as the exclusive site for the equestrian event of the 2010 Youth Olympic Games. The set-up of the riding centre was also another CSR initiative launched by the Singapore Turf Club. With the opening of the centre, the public can now take up horse riding as a sport that is affordable and accessible.