The present scene appears to be at Newmarket at the point where the horses turned half left at the end of the Rowley mile and began the final ascent of a little over half a mile to the end of the Beacon course at the King's Stand.
The race is unlikely to date to 1749 when the picture was painted, as the jockeys' costumes reflect those from some twenty or thirty years before. Soon after 1730, silken coverings on the legs of the type shown on the leader disappeared, and ordinary breeches of the sort the second jockey wears became universal. The mixture of the two in this work suggests a race of the period around 1720. It is possible that the portrait was commissioned to celebrate a famous earlier match around this time.
The match depicted might be one between Partner and Sloven of Bolton in either 1724 or 1726, in which Partner won both races and went on to become a famous stallion. Partner had white socks behind and Sloven was bay or brown. However, the socks on the horse in the present picture appear to be shorter than those with which Partner is shown in other paintings.
The red silks shown in the present work appear in several early pictures, particularly by Wootton, and would seem to have been used by more than one owner, not all of which can be identified. Two that can be linked to all red are the Duke of Wharton and Sir William Wyndham. The second horse appears to be in the colours of the Duke of Bolton, as not only did he use yellow with a black cap, but also is shown in various paintings to have used saddle cloths of blue edged with gold.
The winner of the race in the present picture has in the past been incorrectly identified as Mr Lister's Fox. Fox was a famous racehorse and stallion who was sold by Mr Lister of Barwell Park, Lincolnshire, to the Duke of Rutland. However, he was a bay, and not chestnut, as shown here, and his socks were different from those of the horse in this painting.