In his autobiography, Munnings writes about painting the starts of races at Newmarket. "But to my own profession and purpose--seeing visible beauty; the grouping, the movement--colour, all dependent on the lighting, the sky. Orange satin, cerise-and-white, blue-and-yellow, emerald green--a large field waiting, waiting, regrouping. At each start, determining to retain the picture in my mind, too often an incident, something a horse is doing, distracts, and once again my purpose is thwarted." (A. J. Munnings, The Finish, Bungay, 1952, p. 182). In this picture, Munnings has successfully caught the moment of the start. It was probably painted in 1952 or early 1953.
In a letter from Castle House, Dedham, dated May 11, 1953 to the purchaser, Munnings writes about this Start of a Horse Race. "The colour, I never could repeat in that (this) painting. It has beaten my efforts to put it in to the other buyers canvas that you saw--the cerise--orange & blue." The letter also amusingly states that "another swell from Philadelphia--Coxe-Wright & wife came over &... would have cleared the studio if I let him." (Many of the Munnings owned by Mr. and Mrs. William Coxe Wright are in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the National Racing Museum, Saratoga Springs.)