This horse and jockey are featured in the centre of the larger finished work entitled Going to the Start (National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, Saratoga). As the work was on such a significant scale (42 x 57 inches), Munnings undertook several such preparatory studies including Going to the Post (London, Royal Academy, Diploma Galleries, Sir Alfred Munnings, 1956, no. 294) and the present composition.
Lorian Peralta-Ramos comments on Going to the Start, 'Munnings captures the scene of the 'start' with its' endless variety of color, light and movement, onto which he embroiders his own creative sense of design that culminates into a masterpiece of vibrancy, vitality, energy and exhilaration.' (Private correspondence, 2003).
His knowledge of horsemanship and acute observation of his subject enables Munnings to capture so convincingly the jockey's firm hold on the reins and his deep seat in the saddle. Munnings successfully conveys the tension of this moment as the horse anticipates the start whilst feeling the restraint of the jockey. The horse appears to pulsate with life as it arches its neck and gathers its weight underneath its hind-quarters containing its energy.
This work will be included in Lorian Peralta-Ramos's forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the works by Sir Alfred Munnings.