Date of Tips: 20/04/2021
Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (08:19 20/04/2021) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.
A little over a week ago, the famous Epsom Downs racecourse was covered by a blanket of snow, and now after a week of higher temperatures and some long-awaited sunshine, we are dealing with ground officially called ‘good.’
Warmer temperatures and plenty of sunshine again today, and we could be dealing with a few firmer patches too, which will be right up the street of the classy Sky Defender in the City And Suburban Handicap at 2.50. A previous course and distance winner from just one attempt, when winning on Derby day last year – at 8/1 each-way generally, he should be much shorter in my eyes.
Harking back to that win at Epsom last year, Sky Defender was given a peach of a ride by Joe Fanning on that occasion. Having broke smartly and got across from a wide draw, the pair were swiftly taken on for the lead, but Fanning wisely elected to take Sky Defender back and wait for a suitable moment to kick again. That he did, to devastating effect, and as they swung downhill, Sky Defender was out front rolling on, when plenty of others were struggling to quicken and handle the track in as effective a manner as Sky Defender.
It is that ability to handle undulations, (and in particular downhill sections,) that will allow Sky Defender an advantage over some of his rivals today. Indeed, from just two starts at Goodwood, he has two second place finishes to his name, and also any number of excellent runs at Lingfield – two tracks with similar downhill sections.
Sky Defender has been kept exclusively to all-weather surfaces since the turn of the year, and signed off his winter campaign with a very creditable fourth in the ‘All-Weather Middle Distance Championship Final’ at Lingfield on Good Friday.
Having mixed it with the likes of Bangkok in that recent run, dropped back into a handicap off top weight, Sky Defender holds a rightful class edge of his rivals today. He rates as a very good each-way bet at 8/1 generally, to make it 2 from 2 at Epsom in the City And Suburban Handicap at 2.50 today.
Elsewhere today, there is an interesting flat card at Tipperary, with four consecutive races over 5f – a track that can often significantly favour those drawn high. If in the earlier races on the card, this pattern looks to be holding up, then I would be very keen on the chance of Mienvee Flyer dropping back to 5f in the 5.40 at an appealing 12/1 – but until I know for sure, his draw in 15 of 15 is not a disadvantage, I couldn’t recommend.