Horse Racing — Rules Differences

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The implications of non runners and rule 4 are discussed in detail in this post.

There are very few other rules differences on the win markets in horse racing, and those that do exist (guaranteed prices and double result on a disqualification for example) tend to work in your favour and can be seen as an unpredictable and unexpected bonus.

Each Way and the Place market

Each way arbing is an absolute minefield because of differences in the way Betfair and the bookies handle non runners and the number of places. You can get caught out if your horse finishes in the wrong position after non runners have reduced the field in specific cases, and both bets lose. Unless you really know what you are doing and the intricacies of each way betting at the bookies, I strongly advise avoiding attempting each way.

For those who wish to run the gauntlet of possible losses, the each way/place market rules are:

Betfair rules are found in the rules tab – the number of places vary depending on the race, eg:

Who will finish 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th in this race? NON RUNNERS DO NOT CHANGE THE PLACE TERMS. Should the number of runners be equal to or less than the number of places available as set out above in these rules all bets will be void.

Bookies rules are pretty similar, with the possible exception of what happens if there are less than 5 runners. from Stan James:

The place terms of each way bets at SP or board prices, will be settled as follows:

2-4 Runners all on to win

5-7 Runners 1/4 1st, 2nd

8 or more Runners 1/5 1st, 2nd, 3rd


12 or more Runners 1/4 1st, 2nd, 3rd

16 or more Runners 1/4 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th

For bets other than Antepost, the number of placed runners, as determined in our place betting rules, will be governed by the number of runners coming under starters orders and not by the number of runners, when the price is laid.

So there are 2 factors that can change AFTER you have placed your arb – the number of places the bookie will pay you at and the amount he divides the odds by. Once you have laid at Betfair you are stuck with the odds you have and the number of places in that market. So if a non runner takes you from say 16 to 15 runners in a handicap you can end up paying out at Betfair on 4th place and losing at the bookie, and if it takes you from 12 to 11 runners what was an arb at 1/4 odds can become not an arb at 1/5. Even choosing races with say over 18 runners can be unsafe – I have seen plenty of races where 6 or more horses have been withdrawn.

In addition, if you bet each way in races where there are obvious big each way arbs, the bookies do not like it and will soon severely limit your stakes. They call these bets “stealers”, and they arise when a horse has a fairly low probability of winning, but a very high probability of being placed.

For some big races some bookies offer a separate place market. The same problems with numbers of places can occur here.

Ante Post Bets

In most cases ante post arbs lose at the bookie and win at Betfair if your horse is a non runner. Rule 4 and reduction factors do not apply on ante post markets.

Sometimes arbs can be found on horses entered in a future big race, especially after they have just won one of the trial races for the classics or if a well-known tipster has flagged them as a good bet. You need to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of tying up your money before you dive in to ante post arbs. Betfair have a strange rule about voiding bets if one of the horses dies – any bets placed on the market after the time of death and before the market is reformed are void, I believe. This is a slight risk – horses do die, and this would be more risky for jumps races like the Grand National.

For some big races the major bookies will offer “non runner no bet” (NRNB) upto a week before the race. Arbs in these are worth looking out for, because they give you a possible advantageous rule difference (although there is a possible downside). Betfair go to “day of race” market after final declarations, usually 2-3 days before the race. There can be an overlap between the NRNB market at the bookie and the ante post one at Betfair, where you win at Betfair and have your bet voided at the bookie if the horse you backed is a non runner. The downside is that if one of the favourites is a non runner the bookie may charge a rule 4 but there will be no reduction at Betfair. For races like the Grand National where most of the horses are outside the rule 4 range this is unlikely.

Our AI articles are NOT written by a real person and are provided for entertainment only. They may contain content which is inaccurate but we are hoping our AI bot, Rose, will become better over time. The AI category is the ONLY section of that has zero human input.

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