Oil on canvas, 28” x 36”
Signed, dated 1864-65, inscribed ‘Newmarket’
$7,000. – 10,000.
The namesake of the Prix Fille de l’Air, Count Frederic de Lagrange’s French-bred filly, is one of two horses to win both the Oaks and the Prix de Diane. While the count kept horses in training at both Chantilly and Newmarket, France and Britain were engaged in a bitter rivalry over European racing supremacy. As authors Joyce Kay and Wray Vamplew note on pages 132 and 133 of the Encyclopedia of British Horse Racing, “Downright hostility, however, greeted the victory of Fille de l’Air, the first French-owned winner of an English Classic, the 1864 Oaks. Some said that the horse had to be escorted to the winners’ enclosure by a group of hired prizefighters; others, that the jockey had to be protected by mounted police with drawn sabres as he attempted to weigh in.”