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Bernborough - The Mysteries


Bernborough's life was dogged by a series of mysteries and questions, some of which are still yet to be explained. The first concerned his parentage. There are many who believe the horse was sired by Monash Valley, not Emborough.

As a foal he was sold at auction into a family who would later become embroiled in a ring-in saga. A few months later he was on-sold to a friend of the family, yet when he was being made ready to begin his racing career as a two-year-old, this sale was called into question by the stewards of the Queensland Turf Club (QTC). For reasons they never made clear, Bernborough was refused permission to race anywhere in the country except Toowoomba. His first start was missed by a number of reputable publications when his career came to an end. Those that do note this first race all incorrectly note his finishing position.

When he came to be sold at auction as a six-year-old to Sydney interests, the QTC at first continued to refuse to issue a clearance for Bernborough to race. It took a few weeks before the QTC stewards relented. Yet many years later it was claimed the sale had been a 'fix' right from the start, with the original owner retaining a percentage share. The ownership question followed Bernborough to the end of his illustrious racing career.

Partnered by his youthful and brilliant jockey Athol George Mulley, Bernborough's career in a lengthy series of races in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane saw him become the most popular racehorse of his time and rise to the status of a legend. All the while, a mystery woman kept attending the races and placing substantial cash wagers with local bookmakers, coming under public scrutiny during Bernborough’s final Melbourne campaign.

Then came probably the most famous Caulfield Cup of all time, with the controversial result shattering the Mulley-Bernborough partnership. Decades later the truth behind Mulley’s performance, and that of Bernborough, has as many questions as answers.

No other horse in the history of Australian racing has ever been surrounded by so many questions and mysterious situations…and each one has added flavour to the incredible story of Bernborough.