This vivacious study relates to a picture, Going out at Epsom (private collection), that Munnings exhibited at the Royal Academy of 1931. One of a series of Epsom subjects that he exhibited in the same year, he describes their genesis in the second volume of his autobiography: 'I was painting pictures here in the meadows, in the summer of 1929. Pictures of Epsom Races. Epsom - a grand word - stirs memories of months of work following Epsom weeks in 1929 and 1930.
I had arranged for my three grooms to have a day each at Epsom Races. Harvey, the stud groom, went one day; Bayfield imbued afresh with the subject; saw the saddling-ring, the jockeys mounting and riding up the course past the tents, the crowd, the stands; to turn again - if the race were a mile and a half - and canter back to the paddock, through the gates at the finish. Seeing these sights, they could better understand what I was after, and take fresh interest in making pictures of things seen at Epsom' (see A.J. Munnings, The Second Burst, Bungay, 1951, p. 296).
Munnings goes on to describe the three compositions that he executed: 'For these pictures I used my own horses. The stud was growing - too large perhaps; among them was a new addition, Chips. No artist could want a better model than "Chip" ... Going Out at Epsom. Chips is the horse in this scene, his jockey, a faithful portrait of Slocombe - then a youth ... The Kaffir was the dark horse on the other side of the bay, Chips. To get the picture right, I had another fellow in colours sitting on him at the same time, so that I saw the two together. From a panel study I put in the old number boards, long since gone into limbo - broken up I suppose; a sad thing to contemplate. How many will recall the old, white-painted framework with tall inner frames which slid up and down, holding the numbers of horses and names of jockeys? How many thousands of people have looked at those numbers, at their cards, at the horses; and have hurried back to the stands afar off, there being no Tote in the paddock of those days. Thank God, I still have my careful, finished study of those old Epsom number-boards. They appear in the reproduction of the picture "Going Out". Since the picture was painted, the saddling-ring has been moved to higher ground, altering the direction the horses took as they left the paddock. For me there is no paddock to equal that at Epsom. It is on the summit of a hill. Standing on the lower side, one sees figures of horses and mounted jockeys silhouetted against the sky; others with their sheets being drawn off their backs; groups of trainers, owners, jockeys, all in the bright light of an English summer, a long, white rail on the far side making a line through the picture - a scene for the artist' (ibid., pp. 297-8).