When Stubbs settled in London in about 1759 he was first patronised by aristocrats noted for their interest in racing and hunting, including the Duke of Richmond, the Earl of Grosvenor, the Marquis of Rockingham and Viscount Bolingbroke. The latter owned Molly Long-legs when this work was exhibited at the Society of Artists in 1762, although the groom is not wearing Bolingbroke’s colours. Molly Long-legs was a champion racehorse. Bolingbroke was well-known for his love of gambling, drinking and horses. His fame increased when details of his messy divorce from Lady Diana Spencer became public. Bolingbroke was one of Stubbs’ first patrons when the artist moved to London in 1759. His circle was highly impressed by Stubbs’ knowledge of horse anatomy.