In September 1939 at Rosalie Palins near the township of Oakey, Bern Maid, the brood mare of the late Harry Winten, gave birth to the bay colt foal Bernborough. In May 1940, after Harry Winten’s death, his brother Darcy held a dispersal sale, and John (Jack) Bach bought the mare and her foal for 155 guineas ($325.50) and they were moved to Oakey.
In June 1940, Albert Hadwen bought the stripling for 140 pounds ($280.00). Bernborough’s first race was at Clifford Park racecourse in Toowoomba where he finished ninth. Hadwen then leased the horse to Frank Roberts. During his first five years of racing Bernborough only raced at Toowoomba in Queensland as he was barred from racing at the Brisbane metropolitan tracks because of some ownership doubts.
In late 1945 Hadwen sent Bernborough to Sydney to be sold at action. He was bought for 2,600 guineas ($5,460.00) by Azzalin Ramono. The Queensland Turf Club accepted the sale to the new owner and issued a clearance for Bernborough to race outside of Toowoomba.
Beginning in December 1945, Bernborough put together a sequence of 15 successive wins, over distances from six to eleven furlongs (1.2km-2.2km). His wins were characterised by his whirlwind finishes under heavy weights, and snatching victory from seemingly impossible positions.
In 1946 this run of success came to an end in the 1946 Caulfield Cup when Bernborough finished fifth. On 2 November 1946 Bernborough had his last race in the LKS MacKinnon Stakes. Challenging for the lead just after entering the home straight, he suffered torn sesamoid ligaments which ended his racing career.
After recovering from his injuries, Bernborough was sold to movie producer Louis B. Mayer for 93000 guineas ($195,300.00) for stud at Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, Kentucky until Bernborough’s death in 1960.
Australia Post honoured him on a postage stamp issued in 1978. In 2001 Bernborough was one of the five inaugural inductees into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame. He is commemorated in the township of Oakey with a life size bronze statue located in the park outside the Oakey Cultural Centre.