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Wednesday, 16 January, 2019

Former champion apprentice Bryn Crossley dies at 59

Bryn Crossley in his riding days
1 of 1

Former champion apprentice Bryn Crossley, who rode more than 200 winners on the Flat in Britain, has died at the age of 59.

He was living near Alicante in Spain, where he had been for around 15 years.

"He died on Sunday," said Vince Smith, a close friend and former weighing-room colleague.

"He had a seizure and had been in a coma for a week. He seemed pretty good after that and I spoke to him a couple of weeks before Christmas and he seemed sharp, but then he had another seizure and he didn't make it through."

Smith and Nigel Day will travel out from Britain for the funeral, which is in the town of Elche at 5pm on Sunday. They may be joined by fellow jockey Adam Shoults from Germany.

Smith said: "We were all best buddies in the 1990s. Bryn was a hell of a jockey and such a great fellow to be around, so funny – he could light up a room. We had some hilarious times together."

Champion claimer

Born in Prestatyn in north Wales in 1958, Crossley joined Robert Armstrong in Newmarket and rode his first winner on Balvima at Yarmouth in 1979.

After moving across town to Geoff Huffer's yard he became champion apprentice in 1981 with 45 winners, including Dogberry in the Old Newton Cup at Haydock.

Crossley kicked off the following season by winning the Lincoln at Doncaster on Kings Glory for Philip Mitchell, who made frequent use of his services.

"It's very sad news," the trainer said on hearing of his death. "Bryn wasn't my apprentice but I used him all the time.

Philip Mitchell: used the 'stylish' Crossley frequently

"He was one of an up-and-coming band of apprentices and he rode Kings Glory right the way through, and he also rode five or six winners for me on a very good horse called Telsmoss, who used to win at Windsor on August bank holiday Saturday and then win at Epsom on the Monday.

"Bryn was extremely stylish and very strong in the saddle, he was a Willie Carson-type jockey. He was really good in a finish, other jockeys rarely got the better of him. And he was such a nice person and a really good friend."    

Group-race win

Crossley rode his only Pattern winner on Nepula, who landed the then Group 3 Fillies' Mile at Ascot for Huffer in 1983.

He also partnered a Derby winner, albeit it was only a Haydock maiden in which he rode Teenoso into second place in the spring of his Classic season.

Crossley rode his final winner on Minatina at Newbury in October 1993 and retired with 222 victories to his name to take up a job riding work for Godolphin.

He is survived by his ex-wife Jennie and by his brothers Glyn and Jim, who said: "Bryn was a little guy but a big personality."


Full name Bryn Gareth Crossley

Born Prestatyn, Flintshire, August 3, 1958

Family Father: Harold Crossley (motor mechanic). Second wife (married 1989): Jennie Goulding (now Raymond)

Apprenticed to Robert Armstrong, Newmarket 1974-79; Geoff Huffer, Newmarket 1980-83

First mount One Glance (unplaced) Nottingham, September 28, 1976

First winner Balvima, Yarmouth, June 12, 1979

Best mount Teenoso, second in Haydock maiden, April 1983

Pattern winner Nepula (1983 Fillies' Mile, Group 3)

Big handicap winners Dogberry (1981 Old Newton Cup), Kings Glory (1982 Lincoln Handicap), Crossways (1982 XYZ Handicap)

Last winner Minatina, Newbury, October 21, 1993

Champion apprentice 1981

Most wins in a season 45 in 1981

Total wins in Britain 222 (1979-93)

Compiled by John Randall

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He was really good in a finish, other jockeys rarely got the better of him. And he was such a nice person and a really good friend

Key data

Philip Mitchell
E.W. Terms
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