Trainer W. Tanwan/M. Mackay
To many old time Darling Downs racing folk Abruzzi (Monash Valley-Oneida) is the best horse to race at Toowoomba’s Clifford Park. It means they consider him a better horse than the champion Bernborough who he beat on several occasions. Unfortunately, Abruzzi was a barrier rogue and although he won in Brisbane, city folk never saw the best of him. In fact, as a young horse in the late 1930s to early 1940s, Abruzzi spent a good deal of the time barred. He won his first race as a three-year-old at an Ipswich 7th Division in November 1938. He had a stable switch to Bill Tanwan and went on to win more races at Eagle Farm (twice, including the feature mile Hendra Plate), Doomben (twice), Albion Park and Ipswich, before his barrier manners became so bad he was barred. He returned to racing as a six-year-old at Warwick where he missed the start in the Warwick Newmarket by 100 metres and got beaten a neck. Abruzzi was barred again and had another stable switch to Maurice Mackay before reappearing at Clifford Park. Age seemed to mature him and he went on to win 13 races in Toowoomba with up to 71kg. Abruzzi’s clashes with Bernborough were much anticipated. Abruzzi had the better of their race clashes, finishing in front of Bernborough four to two. Abruzzi was finally retired, aged 10, after recording 20 wins and as many minor placings. P.S. Legend has it much of the good work to get Abruzzi’s barrier manners right goes to then-apprentice jockey Sid Curran.