A painting by equestrian artist George Stubbs sold for £22.4m at auction yesterday (Tuesday 5 July).

“Gimcrack on Newmarket Heath, with a trainer, a jockey and a stable lad” was sold by Christie’s at its Old Master and British Paintings evening sale.

It was a record price for a Stubbs. The previous highest selling piece of his work was Broodmares and Foals that was sold last year for £10.1m.

The painting was created in 1765, commissioned by the horse’s owner, Frederick St John, second Viscount Bolingbroke. Gimcrack was one of the most admired of all 18th century racehorses. Although he was small, he had great stamina and won 28 of his 36 starts.

A secondary, autograph version of the painting was owned by Lord Grosvenor (a subsequent owner of Gimcrack) and is now in the collection of the Jockey Club, Newmarket.

John Stainton, of Christie’s said: “This is a truly exceptional example of 18th century painting that holds immense importance on many levels as an Old Master picture, as a great masterpiece of British Art, and as one of the finest sporting pictures ever painted.”