The changing face of Turf Club Road

Customers checking out fresh seafood on sale at one of the stalls in PasarBella, a market located at The Grandstand.
Customers checking out fresh seafood on sale at one of the stalls in PasarBella, a market located at The Grandstand.BT FILE PHOTO

One of the three stables owned by Mrs Mani Shanker and her husband is located at the Singapore Turf Club's former premises in Bukit Timah.

The race course in Turf Club Road opened in 1933, after it was moved from Farrer Park. The stands and race course were built on parts of the Bukit Timah Rubber Estate. The races were initially restricted to members and horse owners. They were finally opened to the public in 1960.

Work was carried out to expand the race course's capacity in the 1970s and 1980s. Besides the iconic grandstand that was built earlier, a second was built in 1981. This increased the seating capacity to 8,000 and the standing capacity to 50,000.

The race course saw its share of royalty. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, paid a visit in 1972, and the Turf Club honoured the event by establishing a Queen Elizabeth II Cup that year.

The race course was relocated to Kranji in 1999. The grounds in Bukit Timah were then repurposed, in part for use as Turf City, which was, initially, home to amenities such as a supermarket, eateries and education centres. Used-car dealers also came onboard.

After changing hands, Turf City underwent refurbishment and reopened in 2012 as The Grandstand. Besides the used-car dealers, it now boasts dining outlets and a new-age food hall- style market.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 01, 2015, with the headline 'The changing face of Turf Club Road'. Print Edition | Subscribe