On The Fast Tracks


Singapore Turf Club (STC) is a destination for sports and recreation, home to a first-class horse racing facility and the Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre (STCRC). Have you ever wondered what goes on behind-the-scenes to keep its sprawling 124-hectares (equivalent to about 232 football fields) in tip-top condition to run the sport of kings?


From a vantage point at the Grandstand, one will notice the majestic seven world-class racing tracks. Take a harder look and you may just spot something else.


Cue in seven rolling boxes, one sand ring, three sand paddocks, 16 grass paddocks, two swimming pools, two equestrian arenas, about 14,000m2 of rubber tile area, 37 kilometres of railings, five rainwater ponds and five hectares of turf nursery.


It’s a mammoth task to upkeep the grounds and a 14-man team no less, is required for the job.


Day-in and day-out, Tracks Manager, Sugumaran Kerishnan, and team make their rounds on foot and by buggy to ensure every inch of STC’s grounds are maintained to the highest standards.


Meet Sugumaran Kerishnan, the man who plays a pivotal role in keeping our world-class facilities in tip-top condition


Maintaining the race tracks alone requires a tremendous amount of discipline and rigor.


“To optimise the tracks for racing, regular upkeeping of the turf is required daily with major works carried out at least a few times each year. We not only ensure that the tracks are continuously groomed and well irrigated, we also repair worn and damaged sections of the tracks, oversee track drainage as well as carry out horticultural practices and pest surveillance to condition the turf,” shared Kerishnan.


To facilitate the demanding requirements of their work during rainy seasons, the tracks team ideated and designed an outdoor drainage system that significantly improved the drainage capacity of the polytrack, making the racecourse the first in the world to implement such.


The brainchild of R Jayaraju, Head of Tracks, the project was completed in just three short months in early 2021.


Kerishnan expounded, “Thanks to our robust and innovative drainage system, we can now hold races shortly after a rain stops, instead of having to wait several hours in the past for the water to subside. Our technology has enabled us to prevent water ponding, which is especially useful when we are preparing for races during the rainy season.”


“Keeping our tracks and facilities top notch not only enhances horse performance but also minimises injuries on the tracks,” added Jayaraju. 


Maintenance of STC's tracks is mission critical for track work, barrier trials and races to go on


Like many other teams at STC, the Tracks team also plays a critical role in ensuring the safety of both horses and jockeys on the tracks.


“From race to race, the team is on standby to repair and replace wear and tear on the tracks. We take our job very seriously to ensure that horses and jockeys running on our turf race under safe and optimal conditions,” Kerishnan said. 


The collaborative effort between the Tracks team, horse trainers and jockeys ensures that our facilities and tracks meet the optimal requirements and experience for horse racing.


“During daily morning track work, we find time to speak with horse trainers and jockeys to get their feedback on improving our facilities and track conditions,” he added.


Part of the Tracks team’s responsibilities to maintain the turf


The intense and laborious work has its lighter side; the team would sometimes find themselves in the company of monitor lizards, monkeys, pangolins and even otters, who watch them from afar as they go about their work upkeeping a top class racing facility.


As he gazed across the wide expanse of turf, Kerishnan reminisces about his time at STC. His love for nature and horses has kept him going at this job for 13 years now. He is also extremely proud of the fact that STC has never cancelled or stopped a race due to poor track conditions.


“One thing I’m extremely proud of is the fact that we’ve never had to cancel or stop a race due to poor track conditions in the past 13 years. This is something we endeavour to continue delivering on, especially now that the Club has reopened to the public,” Kerishnan said.



May 2022