Race horse and owner by GR Lambert

This photograph shows a race horse photographed with its owner, a European man dressed in riding clothes. Horse racing was brought to Singapore by the British colonialists, and the colony’s first race took place in 1842, offering a generous sum of $150 as the prize money. The Singapore Sporting Club (SSC) was set up by European expatriates that same year, and the Straits Racing Association was established for the regulation of the sport. A venue dedicated to horse-racing was constructed in Bukit Timah in 1933, where the races were then moved to from its original site in Little India. Race horses were mostly owned by wealthy European officials or businessmen, who then commissioned photographers to document their ownership of these status symbols. Such photographs were usually sent back to Europe to family or relatives. Such practices were also adopted by affluent local families or individuals in the early part of the 20th century.