This complex was built at a cost of Rs. 450 million on a concept by former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and opened in December 2013.
At the time the roof collapsed, sports minister Dayasiri Jayasekara, together with the Japanese ambassador in Colombo, was having lunch at Tsingtao Chinese restaurant.
The minister’s bodyguards took the two to safety, to the nearby sports ministry.
The 27-acre racecourse grounds, originally named Ceylon Turf Club, started having horse-racing around 1800 unofficially, which became official on 23 June 1893.
During the Second World War it was taken over by the Royal Air Force, and later on used by the Sri Lanka Air Force, the Army and the Colombo University.