Onto Hallowed Ground
Black Caviar at Royal Ascot, 2012
This was the moment Peter Moody(and the strapper) led Luke Nolan and Black Caviar onto the turf at Royal Ascot, before her thrilling win in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes in 2012. I was very fortunate that the Collins Street Gallery in Melbourne had commissioned a painting of this historic visit, and sent me abroad to capture the day. With this painting I wanted to capture something of the pomp and ceremony of Royal Ascot, from the top hatted gentlemen to the cooing crowd – Black Caviar became a superstar that day.

By a Nose!
Black Caviar winning Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, 2012
Private Collection, Melbourne
And here is her win just a few minutes later. Like everyone in the immense crowd we weren’t sure she’d gotten it at the time, not until the photo finish flashed onto the giant screens, and a mighty roar erupted. I’d positioned myself on the rail a metre past the finish post – a steward tried to throw me out for not having a top hat in the Royal Enclosure seconds before the start, but I stood my ground – this was the scene and the moment I’d flown half way around the world to see. I’d expected the horses to race along the far rail, as they had done all week, but being a sprint this time they hugged the grandstand side, and thundered straight towards me!

Black Caviar by Three Lengths
CF Orr Stakes, Caulfield, 2012
A few months earlier, this is Black Caviar’s 18th win in the group 1 Orr Stakes. She was already a star at this point, race crowds swelled by 20,000 when she was appearing, and I sketched and photographed the scene in order to produce this quite large watercolour. I wanted to show her dominance – by three lengths is generally how she does it.

The Iberian Stallion
Chantilly Stables, Paris
The Chantilly Stables is a magical place, an 18th century palace to horses. The classically trained horses perform in lavish shows under a stunning domed arena, but my preference is getting close to the horses in the stables, or out in the landscaped excercise yard watching them go through their paces. What a stunner this Spanish stallion was!

Mounting Up
Caulfield Racetrack
This is Damian Oliver and Soft Sand, just before their win on Caulfield Family Day in 2012. This is a bit of an ‘ode to the races’ for me, combining all the elements that drew me to dedicating my ‘Sport of Kings’ exhibition to horse racing – beautiful grounds, gorgeous colours of the silks and flowers, and above all the stunning thoroughbreds.

Private collection, Melbourne
While Frankel was far overshadowed at Royal Ascot by the appearance of Black Caviar, many purists – though mainly English ones – will argue that Frankel is the superior race horse. His record is also as an undefeated champion, but at much longer distances, though he too has been dogged by allegations of given ‘easy runs’ to protect his legacy. I was very fortunate he ran at Royal Ascot also in 2012, the very first race of the meet in fact, and I saw him up close in the mounting yard before racing through the crowds to watch him win the Queen Anne Stakes, win number 11 for him.

Royal Stables, Muscat, Oman
My biggest patron over the last few years has been The Sultan of Oman, for whom I’ve painted dozens of landscapes, cityscapes, wilderness scenes and the like. This watercolour was not a commission as such, but a response by me to my visit to his Royal Stables in Muscat, his capital. It was late in the day, and in a corral of stunning Arabian carriage horses these three took flight and the scene was just sublime.

Icelandic Horse
My trip around Iceland a few years ago was not only memorable for the superb birds I saw, and the dramatic landscapes, but the animals the Vikings had brought to this amazing place – the wild and woolly sheep we dodged on the roads, and the captivating Icelandic horses. Such character they have, distinctive colouring, and hair to make a late 1980’s Jon Bonjovi jealous.

Across the Curragh
A week after Royal Ascot I was in County Kildare, watching Camelot win the Irish Derby, but this painting depicts an earlier race in the day. Such a beautiful track! The Emerald Isle indeed! I saw some fabulous horses at the Irish National Stud, and really enjoyed my day at the Curragh.