Thursday, November 21, 2019

With final horse races, Royal Turf Club bids adieu

Sep 16. 2018
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IT WAS CURTAINS yesterday for the Royal Turf Club at Bangkok’s Nang Loeng horse-racing venue in Dusit district, where it had operated for more than a hundred years.

As many as 5,000 people showed up yesterday to watch the final races. The number of laps was increased to 10 – with 15 instead of the usual 14 horses galloping on the turf, before permanent closure of the site that first opened on December 18, 1916. 

The historic and final horse races competed for the Phraya (Khoyule na Ranong) Pradiphat Phuban Trophy. He was the co-founder of the club along with Chao Phraya Ramrakhop. The prize money was double the usual amount, giving horses, jockeys and staff a higher share.

The closure of the venue was because the club’s lease contracts with the Crown Property Bureau for the track, a five-storey stand, two six-storey parking buildings, a five-storey management building, a one-storey structure and a swimming pool had expired.

Royal Turf Club board vice chairman General Boonlert Kaewprasit said many people felt saddened by the closure of the venue. He said the club had urged the Interior Ministry to issue a regulation increasing the frequency of horse races held at another venue – the Royal Bangkok Sports Club – to four times a month (from the usual two times a month) to aid those affected by the facility’s closure. 

Royal Turf Club secretary-general General Wichaya Thephatsadin na Ayutthaya confirmed that the Interior Ministry was considering the request and a regulation would be issued next week. 

He said the site will be returned officially to the Crown Property Bureau on October 4 for construction of a monument for the late King Rama IX and a museum to honour Her Majesty Queen Sirikit.

Some 100 workers at the Nang Loeng site will be laid off with compensation equivalent to six months’ salary, he said, adding a new site for horse racing was under discussion.

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