Quixall Crossett (1985 - 2005)
Click on a name below to take you to that page
Up in the wilds of North Yorkshire, close to where Wuthering Heights was written and set, lies High Crossett Farm, run by pig farmer Ted Caine and his wife Joy. They also kept somethoroughbreds
some thoroughbreds that they would take to race at the weekends. Ted had begun training horses in 1976, with a handful of cheap ‘homebreds’. His most successful was Cavalier Crossett, a 2-mile chaser who won 8 of his 37 races.
High Crossett Farm
In 1985, Ted had high hopes for a foal that he had bred from his sire Beverley Boy and his mare Grange Classic. The stallion fee had only been £50 to a friend, and as the foal was living on the farm, he cost little to look after. Ted combined the name of his farm with the name of his favourite footballer, Albert Quixall and Quixall Crossett became a name that would eventually go down in racing folklore. ‘I was really pleased with the name,’ Ted said a few years later ‘and I kept wishing I’d saved it for a good ’un.’
The horse that Joy Caine described as an ‘ugly duckling’ began training for the racetrack when he was four years old, and in 1990 made his first appearance on a racecourse. This was at Catterick in a National Hunt Flat Race. Racing under the name and the colours of Ted’s daughter Karen Woodhead, Quixall Crossett finished last! Jonny Beardsall, who was Quixall’s jockey that day, fondly recalls, "He was as slow as a hearse, but he was a very safe ride!"
Ted Caine with Ciaran Brown at Southwell
Quixall Crossett 'The Ugly Duckling'
That was his only flat race, and he didn’t see the racetrack again for over eighteen months. His next 12 races were mostly over hurdles, and it was obvious that he was seriously slow. Punters quickly realised this, and his odds of up to 200-1 reflected his chances of success.
November 1994, saw an event that cast a dark shadow over High Crossett farm, when Ted & Joy’s 26 year-old son Malcolm, was killed in a combine harvester accident there. Devastated, the Caines still had the animals to look after, but with Quixall Crossett and stablemates Monaughty
Monaughty Man, Clavering & Triona’s Hope giving them the incentive to continue, they eventually
Quixall Crossett carries Karen Woodhead's racing colours
eventually pulled through. Ted Caine later reflected, "Our life was completely changed. We needed something to keep us together, and Quixall did the trick for us. He just kept going at these races, and he got us out and talking to people again."
Monaughty Man & Quixall Crossett
They were joined during this difficult time, by postal worker Geoff Sanderson, who had worked at Ginger McCain’s yard in the 1970s. Geoff’s life had also been affected by thedeath
the death of his 2 year-old, handicapped son Adam, and severe depression had set in. Sanderson met Caine at Sedgefield racecourse, and this eventually led to him becoming Ted’sassistant
Ted’s assistant, and going everywhere with Quixall Crossett. The horse helped the Caines and Sanderson get their lives back onto an even
Geoff Sanderson riding Quixall Crossett
In 1995, Quixall raced frequently at nearby Sedgfield before being kept particularly busy in 1996. In that year, he raced 23 times,with
times, with his best effort coming at Kelso in October, when he finished
reward was a 57-length fourth place behind Dublin Flyer in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon, which won him prizemoney of £1,530.
Quixall & Geoff Sanderson
On several other occasions during his career, Quixall Crossett stepped up a class or two to take on the equine stars. He raced in a Class 2 novice chase at Ascot on April Fools Day in 1998, and then eight months later he lined up with some of racing’s elite in the Class 1 Tommy Whittle Chase at Haydock. His fouropponents
Quixall Crossett was slow, but was also a very safe jumper
four opponents that day were none other than Lord Gyllene, The Grey Monk, Earth Summit and the winner Suny Bay - they all beat Quixall Crossett by a distance! Between 1997 & 1999, Quixall Crossett raced 55 times, still without breaking his ‘maiden’ tag. Nearly all of these were Class 3 and Class 4 novice chases, with the occasional hurdle outing for good measure.
In September 1999, Quixall Crossett was badly injured in a race at Kelso, and his life looked under threat. Caine and Sanderson cared for him night and day until he made a remarkable recovery over theperiod
the period of a year, until he was able to race again at Wetherby on Boxing Day 2000.
Quixall Crossett's 100th Race
July 21 2001, was a big day for Quixall Crossett. He had been entered in the Ropewalk Chambers Maiden Chase at Southwell - his 100th race! At 16 years old, he had still never finished first, and had long since passed the British record for losing the most races, held by Amrullah (74 defeats).
The race is underway and Quixall Crossett is in last place
The crowd that day was huge. There had been a great deal of newspaper
newspaper coverage and Channel 4’s ‘Morning Line’ devoted most of its programme to the horse. Geoff Sanderson and Ted Caine gave interviews, and John McCririck urged people to “Go Racing” and “See the horse for yourself!” Sky Sports were also there to report on his race, and they even had a ‘Quixall Cam’ to follow him around.
In the parade ring before the race
After winning the prize for the ‘best-turned-out’ horse, the race itself was an anticlimax. Quixall Crossett was tailed off after only five of the 19 fences, and jockey Nick Kent pulled him up with a circuit still to go. As he passed the stands, the crowd gave him a rapturous reception, far more than they did when Richard Johnson drovehome
drove home the race winner Secret Can’t Say. Afterwards, Ted Caine was philosophical, “The pressure to win was not there, never has been. We have never pushed him too hard. I suppose we just loved him as something of a family pet. He's given us a lot of pleasure over the years."
Geoff Sanderson being interviewed for Sky TV after the race
Quixall Crossett ran again in October 2001, in a race sponsored by Renault cars, and bearing his name, but he finished a tailed-off sixth. A month later at Ayr, Quixall Crossett ran his last race, another loss after ignominiously unseating his rider at one of the fences. Over more than a decade he had raced at 21 different National Hunt courses, from Ascot in the south, to Ayr, Perth and Kelso in Scotland.
The RSPCA, along with the public, were very worried about the 17 year-old horse being madeto
With Quixall Crossett & Geoff Sanderson
made to carry on racing, and they voiced their concerns with the Jockey Club. Even Geoff Sanderson was demanding that it was time for the horse to be retired and this led to an acrimonious falling out with Ted Caine, who told him to leave High Crossett and never come back. Caine did eventually bow to the mounting pressure and retired the horse. Upset, he commented later, “I’ve never been before the stewards in 23 years, and my horses have never put a jockey in hospital. They may be slow, but they jump.”
The horse’s health began to deteriorate in 2005 and, on 5th October, it was reported that Quixall Crossett had been put down. His feet and teeth were giving cause for concern, and the Caines didn’t want the horse to suffer. The news was received with much sadness, and this was reflected on various racing forums. Quixall Crosset didn't
Ciaran Brown with Quixall Crossett
didn’t win any of his 103 races, but during his racing career, he built up a large fan club worldwide and even had his own website.
Daily Telegraph - Trainers of the World's Worst Horse Fall Out
The Guardian - Quixall Wins His Place in History By Always Losing
Quixall Crossett - R.I.P.
Quixall Crossett was probably the world's worst racehorse, and when I was 10, I went to Southwell racecourse to watch him run his 100th race. He didn't win, of course, but I was able meet him afterwards.
finished 2nd of eight runners at odds of 150-1. His most lucrative rewardwa