in the early days…
Racing began in Selangor under the patronage of the late Sir William Maxwell, the then resident, who was instrumental in securing the Club for the purpose of recreation. The first course was situated along the now Jalan Tun Razak where the Federal Home for Women was. The course was made entirely at Government expense, and a grand stand was provided. Named the Selangor Gymkhana Club, only amateurs were permitted to ride, and the men chiefly interested found, as time went on, that the sport could not be continued profitably with amateur racing only.
When the lease expired in 1895, Mr Geo Cumming and two or three other prominent racing men took the matter in their hands, to secure a racecourse situated on the right-hand side of the Ampang Road, Kuala Lumpur. A very primitive description of the grandstand was made of attap buildings; but since then any profits made by the club had been spent upon improvements until Selangor Turf Club can now boasts of a racecourse as fine as the other racecourses in the peninsula.
The Selangor Turf Club may claim to have inaugurated the thoroughbred griffin scheme. Three lots were first imported in 1896 and although the scheme met with considerable opposition, the griffins had proven to be the mainstay of racing in the country. The griffins must be certified to be clean thoroughbreds, with sire and dam entered in the Australian studbook. They were subscribed for and the subscribers draw lots from them. Mr Geo Redfearn, the well-known Caulfield trainer, was the leading local trainer in Selangor, and has brought over many good horses from his fathers stables in Australia. There were several horses from the Federal Malay States sired by Malvolio, attached to Geo Redfearn stables that won the Melbourne Cup in 1891.
Of the many gentlemen who had direct interest in the turf in the Federated Malay States and who made a impression to name a few are those of Messrs. H. Aylesbury, W.H. Tate, H.Ord, Geo. Tate, Wm Dunman A.C. Harper,T.W. Raymond, J.W. Welford and F. Douglas Osborne. In the earlier days, Captain Talbot, Dr Travers, Messrs W.W.Bailey, McD Mitchell, Alma Baker, and Chung Ah Yong have been among the most enthusiastic supporters of the turf.
Mr J.P Rodger, a resident Trainer at the Selangor Turf Club had also encouraged and promoted racing in every way. Past gentlemen riders during that time are those of Messrs. J. Patton Ker, T. W. Raymond, W. Dunman, Noel Walker, C.B. Mills and J.R.O Aldworth, F.O.B. Dennys and Dr Braddon. Some of the most successful professional riders have been V.Southall, E. Fisher, O. Randall, R. Bryans, J. Duval and J.R. Elliott and these jockeys were well known in the colony and states as well as further afield in that era.
The Selangor Turf Club was on January 1,1896 associated with the Straits Racing Association. Captain Talbot is the first president of the Club, Mr.G.Cumming vice-president, Mr D.E. Topham secretary. The Club had a register of three hundred active members and they pay a subscription 15 dollar a year with an entrance fee of 10 dollars.
Racing in the Straits Settlements was controlled by the Straits Racing Association (now called the Malayan Racing Association), on which the body were represented by members from the Singapore Sporting Club, the Pinang Turf Club, the Perak Turf Club, the Kinta Gymkhana Club, the Selangor Turf Club, and the Seremban Gymkhana Club.
No betting was allowed on the course, except through the Totalisator (or Parimutuel),
which comes under the management of the committee. Each horse was numbered. Those who desire to bet may buy as many tickets as they like for any horse they fancied. Each ticket cost 5 dollars. All the takings were pooled, and after each race, the pool (less:10 percent commission) was divided between those who had placed their money on the winning horse. The Totalisator rules were rather complicated. There was no betting when less than four horses start. When there are six horses in the race, the pool is divided between the holders of the tickets for the first and second horses. When there are more than six horses, the pool is divided between first, second and third.
For example : Total number of tickets taken on seven starters is 600.
Value of the pool 3,000 dollars - less 300 dollars club’s commission = 2,700 dollars.
First horse - 90 tickets; share of pool 900 dollars dividend 10 dollars.
Second horse - 150 tickets; share of pool 900 dollars, dividend 6 dollars.
Third horse - 15 tickets; share of pool 900 dollars, dividend 60 dollars.
….the big move
In 1988, the Club took the momentous decision to relocate from its cradle in Jalan Ampang to a new and bigger site in Sungei Besi. Construction work began in June 1990 and three years later, the Selangor Turf Club opened its brand new state-of-the-art racecourse with multi-purpose sports facilities.
The grandstand is designed as two parallel buildings with a light and air well between them thus providing greater interconnection between the indoor areas and the natural environment. The roof of the grandstand is the dominant element. It is a collection of “wings” that appear to hover the building, overlapping each other like the feathers on a bird. The roofs on the West side cascade down to form a giant louver, which keeps out the sun while catching the breeze. It caters to a capacity of 25,000 racing fans.
The racetrack is 2,000 metres long and 30 metres wide, left-handed and is turfed with El-Toro Zoysia grass. It also has a double home bend cambered at gradients of 1 to 11 and the two bends was considered essential to allow for future upgrading works or repairs or resting of one of the turns while keeping the other operational.
Other training facilities include a 30 metres turf training track, a 15 metres sand training track, a barrier trial track, infield trotting ring, bull ring and a two-lane heath track. The centre also has some of the finest stabling which can accommodate about 720 horses and each module is configured in a triangular setting in a response for security and also to provide a good environment for the horses. The design of the modules also encouraged cross ventilation and low heat gain that can be experienced by thoroughbreds in the tropics.
This complex was opened on April 1994 by His Majesty Yang DiPertuan Agong Sultan Azlan Shah and a race called the STC Official Opening Commemorative Stakes was ran in honour of this occasion.