Betting on Horse Racing 101: Rule 4 Explained

Posted by Joe Solari on May 9, 2016 in

Often times when you horse racing wager doesn’t bring returns as much as you had anticipated for a winning bet, it mostly has got something to do with the cardinal Rule 4 of horse race bets. So before placing any horse racing bet, it is important that you are familiar with regulations regarding Rule 4, especially if new to betting on horse racing.

Betting on Horse Racing 101: Rule 4 Explained



By a strict definition, Rule 4 in horse racing is an industry-standard statute that is made on a horse when there is a non-runner in a given race after the final declarations for that racing event have been made and you’ve taken a fixed odds price. In simpler terms, this Tattersalls Rule of horse racing requires you to compensate for the event of a later withdrawal of a runner or horse in your chosen race once you have placed your bets on fixed odds.

Consider the following hypothetical example to understand this rule in a better way. If you have, for example, wagered £100 on a horse to win a race and take 5/1 odds and then the 2/1 favorite horse in the race becomes a non-runner, you r 5/1 becomes a bit too inflated and falsely representative of the reduced contestants, thus necessitating for the compensative cut on the non-runner.

The size of this deduction made in Rule 4 is usually determined by the odds/price of the non-runner at the time of withdrawal, as was indicated in the betting lines. The good thing, however, is that the reductions are usually standardized, so you don’t have to be worried about being over-deducted in races where more than one horse is withdrawn.

Further rules on Rule 4 state that, for bets placed in reformed markets, the deductions applied to the withdrawn horses in are calculated on the prices applicable in such markets. And, of course, the deductions in Rule 4 only happen after the final declarations for a race are made, which is mostly—but not always—around 24 hours or 48 hours before a race.


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Also it is worth noting that, if you back a non-runner in an ante-post horse racing market, then you obviously do not get your money back. In short, no Rule 4 is applied to those who bet on ante-post markets and hold bets on horses that benefit from this non-runner. Finally, the Rule 4 can also be applied in races that involve dog races as well as other related events, so don’t be surprised to see it applied in dog racing events and equivalent markets.