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ITV Racing Saturday – Six Selections In Live Races From Newmarket, Thirsk & Goodwood

ITV Racing Tips on Saturday, April 30th

ITV are broadcasting six live races on Saturday afternoon, including the first classic of the year as the 2000 Guineas take centre stage at Newmarket. Racing Tips have provided insight into all six scheduled races, with a selection to follow in each.

BLACKROD (1:50 Newmarket)

County Durham trainer Michael Dods has been responsible for some top sprinters over the past few seasons including the talented Mabs Cross who rose through the ranks before achieving Group 1 success. Last season, Commanche Falls proved to be a real flag-bearer for the yard with four victories including a notable quickfire double in the Scottish Stewards Cup and the Goodwood equivalent just two weeks later. 

BLACKROD appears to be the next stable star for Michael Dods after taking his form to new heights last season. A ready winner of a novice event at Hamilton as a juvenile, the progressive colt finished runner-up in a valuable handicap at York on his second start as a three-year-old before completing back to back victories in Class 2 company at Newmarket and back on the Knavesmire.

Third, to a pair of battle-hardened handicappers on his final start in the Ayr Silver Cup last September, Blackrod still ran admirably and was beaten less than two lengths behind more experienced rivals. Rated 95, connections will be confident the returning four-year-old can land another big handicap on Saturday before heading down the Pattern route. 

Blackrod (right) wins The Sky Bet Apprentice Handicap during Sky Bet Ebor day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival 2021 at York racecourse.

ON A SESSION (2:05 Thirsk)

It’s quite remarkable that ON A SESSION has yet to get off the mark for trainer David Barron, after running some gallant races in defeat last season for connections. 

A two-time winner for previous yards, the six-year-old was unfortunate to lose out on his very first start on British soil at Wolverhampton, going down by half a length to the much higher rated Born To Be Alive over the extended mile. 

Sent to contest the Thirsk Hunt Cup on just his second start for the yard, David Barron’s charge was beaten two lengths in fourth place from a mark of 92 and shaped with plenty of promise behind market leaders Astro King and Nugget on that occasion. 

Runner-up in a valuable handicap contest at Galway last August, the six-year-old has returned this season in similar form and hinted once again hinted that a win was imminent when going close on his latest outing at Lingfield, splitting market principles Dingle and Totally Charming over one mile. 

2lb lower for his fourth-place effort in last season’s renewal, On A Session will be expected to go close once again and although he is an infrequent winner, the six-year-old is difficult to rule out and David Barron’s charge can deservedly return to winning ways. 

FAST MEDICINE (2:25 Newmarket)

FAST MEDICINE could hardly have been any more impressive when winning on seasonal return at Nottingham earlier in the month, smartly pulling clear of his rivals to win by six lengths over the extended mile. 

Winner of a maiden event at Chelmsford last season, the four-year-old had been subsequently beaten in a trio of handicaps towards the end of the season at Catterick, Leicester and Haydock.

Gelded ahead of his return at Nottingham off 79 and fitted with a first-time hood, Peter Chapple-Hyam’s charge cruised into the lead with over two furlongs to go before quickening up smartly to put daylight between him and his toiling rivals in behind. 

Whilst Friday’s contest is a marked step up in class for the four-year-old, Fast Medicine appears extremely well ‘in’ under a mandatory 5lb penalty and if putting in an equally smart performance, he has every chance of claiming this valuable handicap on Saturday afternoon. 

ZANBAQ (2:40 Goodwood)

Newmarket trainer Roger Varian has an abundance of talent at his disposal this year, especially within the three-year-old division. ZANBAQ could be another potential star to follow this season following a stylish performance on debut back in November over seven furlongs at Kempton. 

Making steady headway turning for home under jockey Marco Ghiani, the grey filly quickened up well inside the final furlong, only having to be nudged out under hands and heels riding towards the line to win by half a length. With three future winners in behind her on that occasion, Roger Varian’s charge is clearly a useful prospect and is bred to come into her own now returning for her three-year-old campaign. 

Upped to a mile for the first time this weekend, Zanbaq should relish the extra yardage on her seasonal comeback and while Saturday’s race sees her take a significant rise in class against established rivals, the filly is open to any amount of improvement and is worth supporting given the strong start her yard has made already this year. 

Trainer Roger Varian will expect his filly Zanbaq to go close this weekend.

TWILIGHT CALLS (3:00 Newmarket)

TWILIGHT CALLS was simply sensational on his return to the track when cosily beating nine rivals in Class 3 company over course and distance earlier this month. 

Sent off favourite or second favourite on all nine starts to date, the son of Twilight Son has always been held in the highest regard by trainer Henry Candy and looks more than capable of making his mark in the top sprint contests this season for connections. 

Runner-up on two starts at Ascot as a juvenile, Twilight Calls was quick to make an immediate impact last season as a three-year-old, winning well over six furlongs at Doncaster before successfully dropping back to the minimum at Newmarket’s July meeting to comfortably see off the challenge of King Of Stars by a neck.

Fourth at the Qatar Festival at Goodwood on his following start, Henry Candy’s charge rounded off a productive three-year-old campaign with a creditable effort at York’s Ebor meeting, finishing sixth behind subsequent Group 3 winner Hurricane Ivor and Tim Easterby’s course specialist Copper Knight. 

Returning from 239 days, Twilight Calls never looked in any danger when making a winning reappearance under jockey David Probert and looks more than ready for his first crack at Group company this weekend. 

Twilight Calls (red) can take a rise in class in his stride and record another victory on Saturday afternoon.

NATIVE TRAIL (3:40 Newmarket)

Extremely difficult to look past NATIVE TRAIL in the first Classic of the season. Charlie Appleby’s imposing colt has won all five starts to date and was the top juvenile seen anywhere last season. 

A four-length winner on debut at Sandown, Native Trail beat the subsequent Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes winner Royal Patronage in convincing style before being pitched into the Group 2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket, getting up close home to defeat Andrew Balding’s Masekela by a short head. 

Following a short break, the son of Oasis Dream took his record to three from three when thumping the previously unbeaten Point Lonsdale in Group 1 company at the Curragh – a performance that had striking similarities to that of stablemate Pinatubo two years prior. A second Group 1 success soon came calling on the Rowley Mile, rounding off a superb two-year-old season with a dominant victory in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes back in October. 

Native Trail made light work of his five rivals when returning to Newmarket for the first time over one mile earlier this month, justifying prohibitive odds once again by three and a half lengths. Charlie Appleby’s three-year-old bids for a third Group 1 this weekend and will be expected to triumph and take his record to a perfect six from six. 

Native Trail can land the first Classic of the season for trainer Charlie Appleby.