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Monday, 16 April 2018

Quixall Crossett: Rarely The Bridesmaid

Not without good reason is horse racing known as the “Sport of Kings” and, although racehorse ownership is no longer the preserve of the upper echelons of society, buying and keeping a thoroughbred can be eye-wateringly expensive. According to the Racehorse Owners’ Association, it costs £20,000 a year, on average, to keep a horse in training and owners can expect a typical return on investment of just 20%. Of course, the old adage, “It costs as much to train a bad horse as a good one”, so bear a thought for the owners of horses that never win and, rarely, if ever, trouble the judge.

One such horse – in fact, arguably the worst horse in the history of British racing – was Quixall Crossett, a bay gelding bred and trained by Ted Caine at Fangdale Beck, North Yorkshire. The son of unheralded sire Beverley Boy made his debut in a National Hunt Flat Race at Catterick in February, 1990, finishing tailed off last of 18 finishers. In 102 subsequent starts over regulation hurdles and fences, he suffered 102 defeats, finishing second just twice and third six times.

The closest he ever came to winning was when, at the age of 13, he was second of four finishers, beaten 2 lengths, behind 2/9 favourite in a novices’ chase at Wetherby in May, 1998, although even then he was “soon well outpaced”. He did, however, become the first horse in the history of British racing to record 100 successive defeats, when pulled up in a maiden chase at Southwell in July, 2001.

In his final race, a novices’ handicap chase at Ayr in November, 2001, Quixall Crossett raced from 30lb out of the handicap, including 10lb overweight, and was tailed off when trying to refuse and unseating his rider at the fifth last fence. Variously dismissed as “thoroughly irresolute” and a “seriously slow maiden in danger of becoming a folk hero” by the racing press, Quixall Crossett earned just £8,502 in prize money in a career that lasted for 11 years.

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