horse racing

Six [more] Handicap Sleepers for the 2020 Flat season…

With regard to the return of racing here in the UK, things seem to be on track and running smoothly (🀞)…

All being well it will be just over a week and we’ll have some live racing (on these shores) to watch/punt/analyse/take notes on…

Lets hope upon hope that there are no major bumps between then and now…

I’m continuing with my own behind the scenes preparation, mainly consisting of pulling together and tidying up my notes from last season and digging deep into the databases in search of profitable angles/ways in (as well as continuing my Football Index education!).

A number of you were in touch with me off the back of my last post, asking if I had any more ‘Handicap Sleepers‘ I was willing to share on the free NTF blog.

Luckily for you guys, yes, I do (I’ve tons to be fair!).

This week I’m going to share with you a group of horses that all have one trait in common (apart from the fact they are Handicap Sleepers), that trait being that all these horses excel on tracks with an ‘uphill finish’.

The impact of an uphill finish track is probable more pronounced in the National Hunt code (think of those horses folding like the proverbial deckchairs up the Cheltenham hill!) but make no mistake, testing uphill finishes also have an impact on the flat, with this report concentrating on horses that spring to life when they have a testing finish to tackle (as well as currently falling under my Handicap Sleeper rules).

The [flat] tracks I classify as having an uphill finish are…

Bath – Beverley – Carlisle – Hamilton – Leicester – Newcastle – Newmarket – Pontefract – Salisbury – Sandown – Wetherby

Now it’s important to note that they don’t all have the same severity of a climb to the finish line as each other.

For example the uphill finish at Wetherby is relatively tame compared to somewhere like Hamilton, whilst other tracks you start the climb from someway out, Beverley and Pontefract for example. But regardless of the specifics, all these tracks would fall under the category of having an ‘uphill finish’.

By the way if you want a reminder of the ‘Handicap Sleeper’ process/thinking then nip along to last weeks post. I won’t take up space and cover it all again here.

So lets crack on with things, with six [more] Handicap Sleepers for your notebooks…

IM DAPPER TOO (J Davies) – 9yo geldingΒ 

Career record – 5/43, 11p

Handicap Profile

Current OR – 54 | High win OR – 65 | Last win OR – 65

Prime Conditions…

Turf Handicaps | C5 level & below | DSLR 45 or less | May-Oct | Tracks with an uphill finish (Bev-Carl-Ham-Newc-Ponte) | OR 65 or less

Form when all conditions met…

843111124251 (5/12, 3p – all 5 career wins)

Add in Soft or Good to Soft only = 811111 (5/6 – all 5 career wins)

Other notes…

Yet to win in 12 attempts on the all-weather but has placed on his last two starts at Newcastle (which plays into his uphill finish track profile)


MR ORANGE (P Midgley) – 7yo gelding

Career record – 9/48, 8p

Handicap Profile

Current OR – 75 | High win OR – 78 | Last win OR – 75

Prime Conditions…

6f Handicaps | Good to Soft or quicker | DSLR 45 or less | OR 78 or less | Tracks with an uphill finish (Carlisle-Hamilton-Leicester-Ponte)

Form when all conditions met…

110631515112442213 (7/18, 4p – 7 of 9 career wins)

Other notes…

Also has a good record at Thirsk (2/3)

Pontefract specialist (5 of his career wins have come there)

Likes to come off a strong pace and finish strongly

Graham Lee gets on well with him (3 wins from 7 rides)


ROUND THE ISLAND (R Whitaker) – 7yo gelding

Career record – 7/51, 7p

Handicap Profile

Current OR – 55 | High win OR – 67 | Last win OR – 56

Prime Conditions…

6f Handicaps | Class 5 level & below | DSLR 20 or less | field of 8 or more | OR 67 or less | Tracks with an uphill finish (Ponte-Newcastle)

Form when all conditions met…

181114911 (6/9, 6 of 7 career wins)

Other notes…

Has a surprisingly poor record at uphill finish track Beverley (0/6, 0p), right handed sweep into homestraight may play against him

Looks to have a strong class ceiling as he is 0/10, 3p above Class 5 level


DANDY HIGHWAYMAN (O Pears) – 6yo gelding

Career record – 5/37, 8p

Handicap Profile

Current OR – 59 | High win OR – 80 | Last win OR – 62

Prime Conditions…

C4 level & below | Good or quicker & A/W | Straight tracks | DSLR 30 or less | Fields of 9 or more | OR 80 or less | Tracks with an uphill finish (Bev-Hamilton-Newcastle)

Form when all conditions met…

2161411 (4/7, 1p – 4 of 5 career wins)

Other notes…

Unlikely to be up to reaching his peak win rating of OR 80 but every chance, with conditions to suit, that he could defy marks in the mid-60’s

Sadly news reaches me that Dandy Highwayman passed away on the gallops at home at the end of last year. Condolences to all connected with the horse…


BILLY ROBERTS (R Whitaker) – 7yo gelding

Career record – 5/37, 6p

Handicap Profile

Current OR – 69 | High win OR – 76 | Last win OR – 66

Prime Conditions…

Good to Soft or quicker | 7.5f – 1m2f | DSLR 45 or less | fields of 7 or more | OR 76 or less | Tracks with uphill finishes (Beverly-Ponte)

Form when all conditions met…

5101131 (4/7, 1p – 4 of 5 career wins)

Other notes…

Strong record at Beverley (3 wins from 4 starts) with only disappointing run coming when racing off a mark above his handicap ceiling


MANSHOOD (P Midgley) – 7yo gelding

Career record – 4/38, 11p

Handicap Profile

Current OR – 76 | High win OR – 81 | Last win OR – 73

Prime Conditions…

C4 & below Handicaps | Field of 14 or less | DSLR 11-45 | Wearing Blinkers | OR 81 or less | Tracks with an uphill finish (Carlisle-Hamilton-Newcastle-Wetherby)

Form when all conditions met…

1121122 (4/7,3p – all 4 career wins)

Other notes…

Yet to win on quicker than Good to Soft so cut underfoot may be absolutely ideal, although he has placed on Good and Good to Firm

As always, no guarantee these six highlighted horses will be visiting the winners enclosure this summer but given their prime conditions to attack, especially on tracks with uphill finishes, then I’d be hopeful of them getting at least competitive from on or around their current marks.

I’m off to continue getting my flat ducks in order…

If you are new to NTF make sure to check out previous free blog post by heading to the NTF Blog Archives page.

Stay safe everyone

Ben (NTF)

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17 responses to “Six [more] Handicap Sleepers for the 2020 Flat season…”

  1. Thanks Ben.
    Invaluable work as always and very much appreciated.
    Now to get some of them running.

    • Cheers David and yes, now we wait and see if and when anyone gets a run…(hopefully it will be very soon)

      Ben (NTF)

  2. Noticed BILLY ROBERTS has a very bad non-runner entry list with over 20 non appearances for whatever reasons so hope springs eternal he will show, tell and win if given the chance

    • Hi Norman

      Yes, I did notice that as well, a fair old haul of non-runner marks against his name…

      Could be ground related I suppose…or possibly an indication that they want everything in place before letting him run (and getting their own money down!).

      Hopefully he gets conditions to attack at some point in the next couple months…

      Ben (NTF)

    • Cheers Mel

      Hopefully at least a couple of them return the goods over the next few months…

      Ben (NTF)

    • Chris/June

      Yes, just had confirmation from the owners that the horse passed away of a heart-attack at home on the gallops at the end of last year.

      Sad news…

      Ben (NTF)

  3. Thanks for the Handicapper sleepers. I am trying to do my own list of horses to follow and your analysis has helped me identify some points in which to approach my own list.

    • Good stuff Peter, that’s great to hear πŸ‘

      Hopefully these posts help boost your own list building techniques.

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

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