Craig du Plooy has been forced to bring down the curtain on his riding career after more than 12 mont hs of trying to find a workable solution to his ongoing back problems.
He told Michael Clower: “I haven’t been able to ride in races for well over a year and I have been told that I now have to have an operation on my back so I’m finished as a jockey.”
Du Plooy, 43 , has broken a lot of bones in his career including both arms, a shoulder and a foot but it’s the legacy of a fractured spine that has caused him the real problems. There is a tear between discs and repeated cortisone injections have done no more than relieve the pain.
But the problems have not stopped him teaching work riders the elements of race-riding at the Western Province Groom School and he intends to expand on this.
He said: “I love the racing game. I have been in it for the best part of 30 years, I have learned a lot and I have a lot to pass on.”
He calculates that he rode more than 100 winners, despite all the injury-interruptions, and big race successes include the 2006 Cape Nursery on Avon Wood, the 2010 Fillies Nursery and Perfect Promise on Madrisa and the Final Fling of three years ago on Cat And The Moon. The best he rode was African Night Sky who he partnered to victory in the horse’s first two starts.
He added: “I have had a lot of highlights including working on my race-riding with Felix Coetzee who changed my whole outlook. I just wish I’d had the benefit of his tuition earlier on in my career but working with the Snaith team in the last few years has been awesome.”