Ante-Post Betting In Horse Racing
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What Is Ante-Post Betting In Horse Racing?

Ante-post is a very common term used in horse racing betting. While it may sound complex, it’s very simple – as the name suggests, ante-post betting is placing a wager on an outcome well in advance.

Ante-Post Betting In Horse Racing

As explained, ante-post betting in horse racing is essentially placing a wager on a horse race ahead of time. While we could use the same term for other sports, ante-post is most commonly associated to horse racing for obvious reasons.

In horse racing, the races are graded so horses can progress through “stages” or levels. As they do so, they will be targeted as specific races, where the betting sites will open markets in advance. In such situations, there is a lot of speculation about the winner of the race. One such example is Royal Ascot Gold Cup, which is known for big ante-post winners.

Ante-post betting essentially gives punters a chance to back a horse they believe will win an upcoming race, which is set to take place one, two or more months from now. And while placing bets in advance has its positives, there are also some cons to consider.

When Can You Place An Ante-Post Bet?

There is no rule about when you can place an ante-post bet, as there is no limit on how far ahead bookmakers can open betting markets on any given race. Even if we look at other sports, there is no rule on how far ahead you can place a bet on a future event – as long as the bookmakers are prepared to accept the bet.

For big horse race meetings, such as Cheltenham Festival, ante-post markets for next year usually open shortly after the previous event finishes. For example, Cheltenham Festival 2024 ante-post markets opened in mid-March 2023, after the 2023 event came to an end.

Typically, bookmakers offer ante-post markets on big races up until the final declaration stage (one or two days before the event starts). In some cases, this might happen sooner, but mainly in bigger races and events.

Pros and Cons of Ante-Post Betting

Placing a bet in advance, be it one month or six months before the event is scheduled to begin has both pros and cons punters should consider.

Positives Of Ante-Post Betting

  • There are no Rule 4 deductions if a winner is withdrawn from the race
  • Potential to secure better odds

Negatives Of Ante-Post Betting

  • If the horse you back doesn’t attend the race, your bet loses
  • It is difficult to properly evaluate a horse months ahead of the race
  • Bookmakers may offer better each-way terms on the day of the event

Ante-Post Betting Rules – Void Bets

Like with other bet types, ante-post wagers come with some rules. And are mainly set by the bookmakers, who typically have similar ante-post betting rules on horse races.

While they may differ from one bookmaker to the other, the big events usually have the same ante-post rules, especially regarding void bets. But as mentioned above, if a horse you’ve backed withdraws from the race, your ante-post bet will be settled as a loss.

With most bookmakers, an ante-post bet will be void and your money will be refunded if:

  • The race is run at a different venue than the originally planned
  • The race is cancelled
  • Entries for the race re-opened
  • A horse is “balloted out”

“Balloted out” happens when the number of horses set to participate in a race is higher than the maximum field size. In such scenarios, the British Horse Racing Authority decides which horses are allowed to race.

In regards to ante-post wagers, a horse being balloted out is not the same ass if the horse withdraws from the race. Only in the former scenario does your bet get settled as void.

Besides the rules regarding void bets, each bookmaker will have its own set of rules for ante-post betting. These are worth checking out before putting down your money.


What is the meaning of ante-post?

Ante-post is a term used in horse race betting, and it refers to bets placed on an outcome well in advance. Usually, bookmakers open ante-post markets on bigger races, such as Royal Ascot, soon after the previous event finishes.

Do you get money back on ante-post?

Bookmakers follow specific ante-post rules, which dictate in which scenarios the punter’s ante-post bet is settled as a void. Some examples include if the race is cancelled, if the race is run at a different venue if a horse is balloted out, and if the entries for the race re-open.

Do you get the best odds guaranteed on ante-post bets?

Bookmakers have their own set of rules regarding ante-post bets, which include rules which dictate when the best-odds guarantee concession applies. Typically, BOG doesn’t apply to ante-post bets.

Does Rule 4 apply to ante-post bets?

No, bets placed on an ante-post market are not subject to a Rule 4 deductions regardless of any non-runners.

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