Two stories from the weekend made me smile, and neither concerned the principal races of fascinating cards at Doncaster and Newbury. Albeit in the shoulder races of Saturday and Sunday cards, two Davids of this world took on the Goliaths, and won.
On Saturday at Newbury, farrier Andrew Martin, from Chipping Norton, produced 5 year old Charlie's Glance to win the concluding Irish Thoroughbred Marketing bumper, shooting down some smart names from fancier trainers like Nicholls, Henderson and Hughie Morrison.
A Martin is a nomenclature most folks associate with Irish trainer Tony Martin. Andrew, however, trains on a different scale, but has enjoyed some remarkable success. This was his 14th winner in five years of training, from just 113 runners. And it looks as if that selectivity is paying dividends. Charlie's Glance is now headed for the Aintree Bumper, and Andrew will be hoping either for another long-priced winner (the horse traded at 150/1 before an SP of 14s) or a fancy offer from someone in need of an expensive horse.
Meanwhile, a forgotten man of Gloucestershire racing, reminded us he's no back number when Irish-bred 8 year old Mrs Barnes took the Mares Maiden Hurdle at Huntingdon on Sunday for Adlestrop trainer Richard Phillips. No-one who has met the personable Phillips could ever forget him, but ongoing success has been elusive, and even judged by the standards of previous seasons, this second winner of the term leaves him short of expectations. The season still has the best part of 2 months to go, but they tend to be competitive ones too; let's hope Adlestrop will be firing again on all cylinders soon.