By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen
Perak 15/9/23 – On a splendid Friday evening, the Perak Turf Club unfolded an event that shimmered with elegance and brimmed with promise. As the sun set gracefully, a new dawn for the Perak Turf Club was just beginning.
Under the theme “An Evening of Elegance & Delightful Cuisine,” this event marked a significant milestone in the club’s journey, and it’s a story worth sharing.The Tan Sri V. Jeyaratnam Lounge at the Perak Turf Club was the venue for this memorable occasion, where guests arrived to cocktails at 6:30 PM.
As the evening unfolded, a sumptuous 6-course meal, exclusively curated from the DOME at Meru Valley Resort, awaited them. The menu featured delectable treats like Hamachi Tataki with Mango & Avocado Timbale, a Surf & Turf Platter that included a Tomahawk Steak and Lobster, Roasted Rempah Lamb Rack with Spicy Tamarind Sauce, Baked Salmon Yuzu Nage, Roasted Chicken with Herbs, and concluded with a delightful Passionfruit Mousse.
However, this evening wasn’t just about culinary delights. It was about celebrating the rich history and promising future of the Perak Turf Club.
Dato John Lim, the new Chairman who presided over the event, welcomed guests with warmth and appreciation. He expressed gratitude to Dato Lim Si Boon for his generosity in facilitating this function.
Dato John Lim then delved into the historical roots of the Perak Turf Club, tracing its origins back to 1884 when it was established in Taiping. The idea for this exclusive turf club came from Sir Frank Swettenham, a passionate advocate for horse racing. Back then, horse racing in the Federated Malay States was a social event that brought people from all walks of life together, especially the Chinese community, known for their love of gambling. It was a time when the club boasted a vibrant crowd of 6,000 to 7,000 people during race days, where the late Sultan of Perak was a familiar patron. As was Tunku Abdul Rahman, our founding father of independent Malaya.
Looking to the Future:
Fast forward to 2023, and the club faced challenges. The horse population had dwindled to 120, attendance had decreased to about 600, and the image of horse racing had dimmed. The Perak Turf Club recognized the need to restore the lustre of horse racing as a lifestyle and sport in Perak.
Dato John Lim shared his vision of rejuvenating the club. He announced that the Perak Turf Club is now open to hosting corporate events, dinners, weddings, and is actively seeking sponsorships for races. The club aims to connect with a younger audience through social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
A New Ambassador:
A pivotal moment of the evening was the announcement of Datin Caroline Wong as the new Ambassador of the Perak Turf Club in a voluntary capacity. Her role signifies a fresh chapter for the club, as she steps into the role of promoting horse racing as a cherished lifestyle in Perak. Without necessarily gambling, watching the races and the excitement of the crowds was a treat in itself, not to mention the luxury of doing it while sipping tea or a glass of champagne, enjoying the whole panorama in a private room or the Tan Sri Jeyaratnam lounge.
Towards a Promising Future:
As we close the chapter on this exquisite evening, it’s clear that the Perak Turf Club is committed to a promising future. It’s a place that boasts wonderful facilities and ample parking, offering not only horse racing but also exclusive dining events at night.
Dato John even mentioned the possibility of setting up a private club for members as there is ample land to build a swimming pool, open up the tennis courts and bring back the equestrian centre.
Reviving a Cherished Tradition:
The Perak Turf Club’s message is clear: it’s time to reignite the allure of horse racing in Perak. It’s time to return the club to its glory years when tycoons like Chong Kok Lim, Tan Eng Soon, and Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah’s father Cheah Fah graced its grounds. As did the late Tun Lim Kheng Yaik who owned horses there. It’s time to bring back the vibrant crowds, not just from Perak but from all around, who filled hotels and restaurants in Ipoh during race days & events.
Indeed, the Perak Turf Club is stepping into a new dawn, and they invite the local community to be a part of this exciting journey. It’s not just about horse racing; it’s about reviving a cherished tradition and embracing it as a lifestyle choice. The sun may set, but the Perak Turf Club’s new beginning is just dawning, and it promises to shine brightly.