THE late, great ‘Big Crocodile’, Dr Henry Robert ‘Crocky’ du Preez, is pictured here at Mike de Kock’s stables at Randjesfontein in 2004, five years before his death in 2009, aged 70.
As chief veterinarian, ‘Crocky’ was an early morning regular at the yard for many years. His routine check-ups of horses were always followed by a few cups of coffee, serious chats with Mike and the team about everything from horses’ illnesses to the latest headline news to the latest jokes and tales from his colourful past, invariably accompanied by the infectious, roaring laugh he was known and loved for.
Never shy of expressing his opinion, Crocky noted in a 2007 interview: “The negative perception of racing has much to do with public ignorance resulting from the media’s portrayal of medication as ‘dope’. The sport’s image has suffered badly, but racing’s authorities are nurturing wrong perceptions instead of educating the public.
“What we’re dealing with are equine athletes that suffer strains and ailments of different degrees. Horses, like human athletes, are treated almost daily for pain and inflammation of muscles and joints.”
We salute you again, Croc – the kettle’s boiling if you want to drop in!