Bernborough - Australia's Greatest Racehorse
By Duncan Stearn
In the history of Australian horse racing only five horses have captured the imagination of the public to the extent of dominating their era. In 1870 it was carbine; in 1930 Phar Lap; in 1957 Tulloch, while in 2005, Makybe Diva won her third successive Melbourne Cup and became a legend.
Sixty years earlier - after a decade of economic depression and six years of total war - Australians embraced another great. He emerged in the unlikely form of a giant six-year-old stallion from outback Queensland. His name was Bernborough.
Together with his youthful jockey George Mulley, flamboyant owner Azzalin Romano, and taciturn trainer Harry Plant, Bernborough carved a unique niche in the tapestry of both Australian racing and the social fabric of the post-war nation.
After being trapped for years by bureaucratic red tape, Bernborough burst into the national spotlight, reeling off victory after victory in sensational fashion, becoming a household name across the country, and emerging as the first cultural icon of the Baby Boom era.
Bernborough's weight carrying ability has never been equalled and his clashes with the mighty Flight are the stuff of legend.
To this day, Bernborough's life and career is surrounded by a web of mystery, intrigue, and rumour. This fascinating account offers unique insight into his parentage, ownership, early career, and the strange circumstances surrounding the collapse of the Mulley-Romano-Plant partnership.
It also ponders the unanswerable question: Was Bernborough the greatest racehorse Australia has ever seen?
- Proglen, June 2011
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