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Tuesday 26 March 2019
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Dr Steve Bennett, 89, dies in sleep

THE horse racing fraternity was plunged into deep mourning yesterday, with the passing of Dr Steve Bennett.

As news of his passing flashed across Santa Rosa Park, Arima, yesterday morning, a dull aura filled the air.

Dr Bennett died in his sleep at his home in St Augustine at 6.30 am yesterday. He was 89.

He leaves to mourn his passing, four daughters and one son, trainer Douglas Bennett.

Dr Bennett, the son of ex-jockey and trainer Oliver Penlyn Bennett, created history when he became a full fledged jockey at age 10.

Born in Princes Town in 1922, apart from being a jockey, Dr Bennett became a veterinarian and after many years of research developed the Buffalypso.

The Buffalypso whose name derived from Trinidad and Tobago being the “Land of Calypso,” was developed as a new breed of cattle after it was found that the Indian water buffalo used on the sugar estates were prone to tuberculosis.

And soon Dr Bennett’s Buffalypso became a prized breed because of its thick skin and ability to keep away parasites apart from giving a good qualify of beef and milk.

Soon the Buffalypso were introduced to countries like Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Argentina, Cuba, USA and Italy.

He was a pioneer of veterinary practice in Trinidad and Tobago, particularly to racehorses, farm and domestic animals, and together with Dr William Robert Jones established an animal clinic.

Dr Bennett studied agriculture at the Ontario Agricultural College (now University of Guelph), Canada, and his love for animals lured him into specialising in animal husbandry.

He received many awards for his outstanding contributions as a pioneer in veterinary medicine, but none higher than the national Chaconia Medal (gold) he got in 1984 and an honorary degree from the University of the Weat Indies in 2001.

According to Trinidad and Tobago Racing Authority chairman Derek Chin, “Dr Bennett was a stalwart in every facet of horseracing.

“I enjoyed his humour. He will be very hard to replace.”

Dr Bennett was a known practical joker, always good for a laugh when he is around at the races which he attended regularly.

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