How to play Handicap Sleepers for profit…

Bop It woke up from his handicap snooze at Haydock!

Remember the handicap sleepers guide I released at the start of the season?


If you didn’t get it you can still grab your free copy here >> Handicap Sleepers Guide

Quite a few of you have been in contact with me over the past couple of months asking about the Handicap Sleepers, how to play them, the best approach, what to do when all conditions are not met, etc…

So I thought I’d go into a bit more detail with them by using one of the four on the guide and also provide you with a new one to keep you moving forward.

Only one of the quartet has actually won (so far) but in fairness although they have had plenty of runs there have been plenty of times they simply haven’t had their conditions.

And that’s the key to Handicap Sleepers; they NEED their conditions to perform to their optimum. They ain’t top class animals who can overcome numerous unfavourable conditions, they are generally middle of the road grinders who need plenty of boxes ticked, or at least most of the major boxes, before they consent to put their best hooves forward.

But that’s the nature of the game with the Handicap Sleepers. You need to be patient with them. Employ patience and you shall be rewarded.

BOP IT is a prime example.

Since I released the guide to the BDH/NTF Free list he has run five times.

On three of those occasions I would have said he didn’t have his conditions.

These were the conditions I had highlighted for him…


Handicap Profile

Current OR – 79 | Highest Win OR – 81 | Last Win OR – 80

Form Positives

All 5 wins when running within 18 – 38 days of last start

All 5 wins have come in races worth less than 5.5k to winner

All 5 wins have come on a straight track

All 5 wins have come between June & September

Form Negatives

He is 0/10 when returning within 17 days & 0/9 after a break of 39 days+

He is 0/15 in races worth 5.5k or more to the winner

He is 0/5 on a turning track

He is 0/7 before June & 0/7 after September

Other Notes – He is 0/16 when running from a mark of 82+ so has a firm ceiling to his abilities | Possibly doesn’t handle Good to Firm (0/9) and Good looks ideal (4 of his 5 wins)


His first run (since the release of the free handicap Sleepers Guide) came on 16th of May at Doncaster on Good to Firm.

That was outside of his month parameters, was only 14 days since his last start AND was on Good to Firm. Three negatives – no bet – finished 10th of 18.

Next time up for him was York on 13th July. That was a race worth 7k to the winner. He was 0/15 in races worth 5.5k or more to the winner. I couldn’t back him there, despite other conditions being in his favour, as he had failed numerous times in such races previously. No bet – finished 13th of 18.

He then appeared at Haydock on the 4th of July in a race worth 6k to the winner. He was now 0/16 in races worth 5.5k or more to the winner and again I had to swerve him, despite other conditions being in his favour. I would rate class ceiling as one of the main determining factors for any handicapper, especially when there is significant evidence that they have a ceiling to their abilities. Days Since Last Run I can be flexible on and monthly parameters I can also be flexible on, class ceiling I simply can’t. No bet – finished 8th of 11.

BOP IT then appeared at York on 24th July. The month condition was ticked, the Days Since Lat Run was ticked (20 days since last run), it was a straight track and the race was worth 5k. My only small issue was the Good to Firm ground but since the main parameters were met AND he was available at 25-1 the evening before it was a bit of a no-brainer; it had to be a bet. Each-Way bet – result – finished 3rd at 14-1.

That was a good indicator that he was coming to the boil.

He was then entered in a class 5 event at Haydock on August the 6th. Again the month condition was ticked, it was a straight track and it was a race worth ‘only’ 2k to the winner. It was only 13 days since his last start,which was a small concern, however he was now racing on his ideal ground of Good. That eased my concern over the DSLR angle as he was getting his ideal ground for the first time this season. He was trading at around 7/2-4/1 and considering he was down in grade to C5 level (for the first time since his 2yo days!) he simply had to be punted. Result – WINNER.

A perfect example of a handicap sleeper at work.

It doesn’t always, however, work out like that as DR RED EYE from the free guide has proved. He is another, however, that hasn’t really been blessed with prime conditions all that often.

He has actually raced nine times since I fired out the guide but it could well be argued that six of those runs haven’t been ideal for him. The upside of that, clearly, is that he is now slipping down to an even more attractive mark and although it’s highly unlikely that I’ll be backing him again before the season is out I’ll certainly be keeping a close watch on him next term and looking for him running under those all important prime conditions.

It’s a long ball game most of the time in this racing malarkey, especially with the handicap sleepers angle, but it does pay off, especially if you are not too trigger happy and can play the patient waiting game.

And one from my wider Handicap Sleepers list that I’ve just started playing a patient game with (and who looks to have conditions to suit) runs tomorrow (Thursday) at Ffos Las in the 6.00.

That horse is the Michael Scudamore trained EASTERN DRAGON.

Here are my Handicap Sleeper notes on him…


Handicap Profile

Current OR – 68 | Highest Win OR – 73 (68 w claim) | Last Win OR – 73 (68 w claim)

Form Positives

All 6 of his career wins came over the 6f or 7f trip

All 6 of his wins have come at Class 5 level and below

All 6 of his wins have come on a straight track or round a LH bend

5 of his 6 wins have come when returning within 28 days or less

Form Negatives

He is 0/1 at shorter than 6f and 0/8 over further than 7f

He is 0 from 12 at Class 4 level or higher

He is 0/14 when running round a RH bend

He is only 1/12 when returning after a break of 29 days+

Ideal Conditions

6 or 7 Furlongs | Class 5 level or below | Running round a LH bend or on a straight track | Running within 28 days of last start

Other Notes – He is 3 from 5, 1 place on Soft or Heavy ground and only 1/17 on Good to Soft or better ground and although I wouldn’t say he needed it really testing it does appear to be a major benefit to him


That’s full marks for him on the main conditions front and his 5lb claimer, the excellent Edward Greatrex, makes him look an even more attractively handicapped animal. He doesn’t get his favoured Soft or Heavy ground today but he does get Good to Soft and that little bit of cut could be just what he’s after.

He’s actually a very recent addition to my Handicap Sleeper list and this will be the first time I’ve played him and I’m quite hopeful he won’t be one I have to sit around and wait too long with before cashing him in.

I’ll be playing him each-way on Thursday and even if he doesn’t score (which you have to be prepared for with these types) I’ll be keeping him in my deep and girthy Handicap Sleepers roster and looking for future opportunities to get the money down.

And speaking of my Handicap Sleepers roster…

I’ll be delving back into it very shortly to provide another FREE Handicap Sleepers guide to keep you guys going for the remainder of the flat season.

If you are already on the Free BDH/NTF list then the guide will be dropping in your inbox within the next seven days.

If you are not yet a member of the Free list then simply drop your name in the box below and you will not only be in-line for the new FREE Handicap Sleepers guide but you will also be able to pick up all the free guides that are currently available (Flat AND Jumps) to members of the free list…


Happy Punting

Ben (BDH)





  • Chris

    Reply Reply August 13, 2015

    Entertaining Ben 515L! 16/1
    Stable in form, switched to straight track on turf with rain due – which should suit on pedigree.
    Chief Entertainer
    Comedy Night
    PS I know it’s not a h’cap:)

    • Ben

      Reply Reply August 13, 2015

      Hi Chris

      As much as that is a fabulous name for a beast I’m not one to play much in maidens.

      Agree with your comments about him though.

      Unfortunately your tricast has been buggered by a non-runner 🙁

      Ben (BDH)

  • David Dickinson

    Reply Reply August 13, 2015

    Thanks again for the sleepers list Ben.
    Well worth the wait in my humble opinion.
    Any early thoughts on the Ayr Gold Cup. I have had the winner for the last 5 seasons.
    There’s one simple knack to getting a really short list of qualifiers.

    • Ben

      Reply Reply August 13, 2015

      No problem David

      No early thoughts on Ayr at the minute.

      Good work on 5 years on the trot winners! Whats the secret?

      Cheers – Ben (BDH)

  • Nick

    Reply Reply August 13, 2015

    Darn Non-Runners! I’m going to have to play on the nose now. Good luck all!!

    • Ben

      Reply Reply August 13, 2015

      Damn non-runners indeed Nick! Always ruining things!

      Best of luck mate

      Ben (BDH)

  • Paul

    Reply Reply August 13, 2015

    Based on Eastern Dragon’s performance today I would take him off the handicap sleepers list…..

    • Ben

      Reply Reply August 13, 2015

      Hi Paul

      I wouldn’t. It’s a continual learning process for me for each horse and after this run I’ve added to the notes section of the profile I have for him.

      I was already keeping an eye on this angle but wasn’t 100% convinced by it although now I am.

      He is now 0/10 (1 place) in fields of 7 or less and I would be confident that he needs the bigger fields (8+ runners, 10+ maybe ideal) and the pace/cover generated by those bigger fields.

      Originally this was an 8 runner affair which would have suited better (not saying it would have worked out perfect but it would certainly have been better) than the 6 runner field it turned out to be. Small margins maybe but sometimes that’s all you need.

      I would be willing to give him a few more shots before dumping him off the list myself.

      Cheers – Ben (BDH)

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