Monday, 29 February 2016

Sprinter Sacre - in the presence of greatness

This should probably have been written a week ago, but as ever I'm a bit tardy - I blame my creative genes that seem to overrule the clock that everyone else lives by!

Earlier this season, on social media, I saw Hannah Bishop looking for sponsorship to ride in a charity race to raise funds for Greatwood, an amazing facility caring for ex-racehorses. I contacted Hannah, offered a portrait, and we thought that a famous racehorse would be the best idea. 
Sprinter Sacre was my legend of choice.

I was lucky enough to be at the Festival when he won the Queen Mother in 2013. He took my breath away. His effortless, flawless jumping at speed left me reeling. He was magical, a deity of the turf. I even forgave him for beating my hitherto favourite two mile chaser, Sizing Europe. 

I ran, trying to beat the crowds, to see this towering genius in the winner's enclosure. Always, there is a special kind of magic surrounding every winner that stands there, but this horse, this horse for me transcended all others. The roars of applause that accompanied his walk to the coveted First Place spot were spine-tingling, the emotion was huge, the wonder wide-eyed. Yet he gave even more than that, this horse acknowledged the adoration. He lifted his head, and looked up at the crowd. He knew, really knew, that all this was just for him. 
From that moment onwards I was forever smitten. 

I hoped to try and have some of that memory in the portrait. The very talented Fran Altoft, top class racing photographer, searched her portfolio and found some excellent images to supply the look I was aiming for. A huge thanks to Fran, this wouldn't have been the same without her help. 

No piece of art can convey everything I felt that day, but I am so privileged to have had the opportunity to try. 

The portrait, now signed by Sprinter Sacre's supreme trainer Nicky Henderson, is in the online auction below which will finish on the Charity raceday at Newbury on 5th March 2016.