Blood And Sand has given trainers Kim and Gayle Mayberry their biggest victory in a jumps race at Ballarat.
The gelding has only recently made the switch to hurdling and in claiming Sunday’s J J Houlahan Hurdle is unbeaten in two starts over jumps.
The jumping community is claiming Blood And Sand a new star after his 2-1/4 length win under Tommy Ryan.
Kim Mayberry, who has held a licence since 1984, and his wife Gayle have eight horses in work, said Sunday’s win was a career highlight.
Blood And Sand bypassed maiden grade to win a restricted hurdle on debut at Warrnambool before graduating straight to Sunday’s premier hurdle.
“This is the tops,” Mayberry said.
“Tommy said before the race that he’s still only a novice and that we’ll ride to get a place today.
“I thought the topweight (King Of Dudes) was unbeatable but he’s a dyed-in-the-wool stayer and the track conditions were just ideal for him.”
Blood And Sand has only been in Mayberry’s care for around three months after doing his early racing with Tony Carter-Smith.
“Tony rang us around 11 or 12 weeks ago and said I’ve got a horse for you,” Mayberry said.
“He said it was sick and tired of racing on the flat and said he could jump and would I be prepared to take him on.
“The rest is history.”
Mayberry said Blood And Sand was a natural jumper who will improve when he gets to the bigger jumps.
“The beauty is he’s not an excitable horse. He can relax,” Mayberry said.
Blood And Sand was the second leg of a double for Ryan.
He scored on Accounted Four in the Sportsbet Power Play Maiden Hurdle and picked himself up after falling from Wicked Trilogy in the Hygain Winner’s Choice Maiden Hurdle.