|By Sir Alfred Munnings. Image size 30'' x 24'' (76 x 60 cms).
Solario’s significance as a racehorse can be seen from the fact that he was chosen as the subject for this painting by Sir Alfred Munnings, one of Britain’s finest equestrian artists of all time. This is an excellent example of Munnings’ internationally famous portraits of racehorses, which have sold for sums as high as $7,848,000.
Sired by the magnificent Gainsborough, Solario was foaled in 1922, and was bought as a yearling by Sir John Rutherford for 3,500 guineas. A late but spectacular developer, Solario won at Ascot and Newmarket, as well as comfortably winning the St Leger Stakes, before a magnificent fifth year: not content with winning the Coronation Cup of 1926 by the remarkable margin of fifteen lengths, he also took the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.
Despite receiving offers up to £100,000 for Solario, Sir John refused to sell the colt; however, after his owner’s death in 1932, Solario fetched the unprecedented sum of 47,000 guineas at public auction. His achievements on the racecourse were matched by his prowess at stud: he sired a winner of the 1,000 Guineas and Oaks in Exhibitionnist, as well as the Derby winners Mid-Day Sun and Straight Deal. His name lives on: the Solario Stakes has been run annually at Sandown Park since 1947.