Bonheur gained great success with equine figures and groups and Le Grand Jockey (no. 4817), his best known single horse and jockey group, was first shown at the 1879 Salon. It shows the jockey patting the horse's neck in congratulation and appreciation, in trot after a victorious finish. The models were later exhibited at the Exposition Nationale des Beaux Arts in 1883 and at the Exposition Universelle of 1889, where Bonheur was awarded the prestigious Medaille d'Or.
The English were particularly appreciative of Bonheur's fine and wide range of equestrian works and consequently the artist exhibited at the Royal Academy in the 1870s. The widely popular Le Grand Jockey was subsequently edited in four different sizes of which the present lot is the second largest.