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The Perak Turf Club - History
This is a photograph of the Ipoh Race Course and Grandstand, the latter built in 1926 to replace the old original wooden one which was actually part of the Perak Turf Club's predecessor, the Ipoh Gymkhana Club.
Today's Perak Turf Club races on the same course, the backdrop for which is Gunong Korbu (Gunung Korbu), one of the highest peaks in the main range of the Peninsula. The club is the custodian of a Perak racing tradition that goes back nearly 85 years, the first meeting having been held at Taiping , then the State capital, in 1886 by the first Perak Turf Club. Its course was the cradle of racing in the Peninsula.
In Kinta, horseracing started with the Kinta Gymkhana Club, founded in 1890 which held its first meeting at Batu Gajah, the district centre. However Ipoh was a fast-developing town and the Ipoh Gymkhana Club was started in February 1904 with a meeting open only to amateur riders. In due time, meetings at Batu Gajah faded out and Ipoh became the main centre of racing in the state, although the Perak Gymkhana Club, later named the Taiping Turf Club, were to carry on racing at Taiping for many years.
John Charles Osborne (J. C. Osborne, a rubber planter) was the first President of today’s Perak Turf Club formed in 1926, with C.B. Redway as vice president; the club was formally opened a year after it was formed. Membership was 450. Incidentally, Mrs R. P. Brash and Mrs J. C. Osborne were the first two ladies to become members of the Ipoh Gymkhana Club; this is according to the Malaya Tribune, dated 14 July 1925.
Under the enthusiastic patronage of Sultan Iskandar Shah (father of the present Sultan of Perak), who for years owned the largest and one of the most successful strings of horses races in the region, the club made fine progress. The last meeting under the Straits Racing Association rules before the start of the Pacific War was at Ipoh. There was however, some racing during the Japanese occupation.
Perak had the same rehabilitation problems as other clubs, but facilities were back to pre-war standards by 1951. By 1960, the club has extended its activities into other sports and community projects at State and national levels. The club can claim a number of "firsts" for the Malayan turf. It was the first club to introduce graded stakes for the various classes (July 1950). This system was generally adopted in 1962. In 1950, the club big stakes for classics, with RM25,000 for the Perak Derby, over 1½ miles, won by Indian Heather. In 1959, it ran the first RM1 million sweep, with a record first prize of RM400,000. In 1960, the club was the first to introduce the digit forecast pool. In 1961, it experimented with morning and afternoon racing, with a 12-event card in November 1961.
The grandstand was renovated /rebuilt commencing 1965, but remained in use throughout the works.
Regular and successful race meetings continue today (2008).
This information was adapted from the Da Ma cai website at: http://www.pmp.com.my/english/racing/perak_tc.asp?hidReLocationMenu=1. They have a wealth of other information on Malaysian horse racing and turf club histories.
To read more about the Ipoh Gymkhana Club, click here.
To read more about The redeveloped grandstand and race course (1971), click here.