Ante Post Horse Racing

Updated: 6279 Learning

Ante post horse racing markets will usually only be available on certain types of race and they are Group races (most commonly Group 1 races) and also big handicaps. Both types of race have different considerations before placing bets and

Ante Post Horse Racing
Andy Powell Content Editor

Horse Racing stats man, Andy has contributed to OLBG for 18 years - An Ipswich fan and F1 fanatic, he also contributes EFL football and Motor Sport opinion.

Ante post horse racing markets will usually only be available on certain types of race and they are Group races (most commonly Group 1 races) and also big handicaps. Both types of race have different considerations before placing bets and with both types of race there is more than one way to make ante post betting pay.

Different Way To Make Money Ante Post

Picking Winners

The most straight forward way to make money from ante post betting is to back winners. Betting ante post on horse racing is usually much harder than betting on the day of the race, you don’t know the exact going when you place your bets, you don’t know the draw if applicable, there are far more horses to weigh up than there will be on the day and most importantly, you don’t even know if your horse is going to line up. Even if the race is the target of your horse it could pick up an injury or plans may change and if your horse doesn’t run, you’ll lose your cash.

There are ways to narrow down the chances of placing a ‘bad’ ante post bet. If betting within a week of the event you should be able to find the current going of the racecourse on the official BHA (British Horseracing Authority) website as well as estimated rainfall for each day leading up to the race. If betting further in advance than that you could take a look at what the going is usually like at that meeting in past years. It doesn’t guarantee that it will be the same but it is no coincidence that certain meetings are usually run on a certain going type.

Encke winner of St Leger 2012Narrowing down the most likely and least likely runners is also an important aspect of ante post betting. Usually the bigger the race the more likely runners are to stand their ground but there are always exceptions. Google News, Twitter or the trainers website can often flag up some information about the likelihood of a horse running the race. Other things to look out for are multiple entries from a trainer, horses that might not be suited by the anticipated ground conditions and also horses that need runners above them to come out in order to get a run. The fancied horses for a handicap can often be the lightly raced ones with more improvement but that also makes them more likely to be at the foot of the weights. Sometimes several of the ante post favourites will need plenty of horses to fail to take up their entries in a race and backing a horse that is guaranteed to get into the race can see a horse become a much shorter price once the final decs are made if the other fancied horses don’t make the cut.


You don’t necessarily have to keep your bet open until the race is run to make money from ante post betting on horse racing. There can be lots of price changes on an ante post market and with the use of a betting exchange you can secure a price and lay off if the horse you have backed shortens significantly.

Pre Final Declarations

You may wish to trade out of your bet before the final decs are made to ensure you don’t lose anything if the horse you are trying to trade doesn’t run. The better markets for this would be the longer term ante post markets such as the Newmarket or Epsom classics on the flat or Cheltenham Festival races and the Grand National on the flat. These markets are open nearly all year round providing plenty of opportunities for trading, especially just before and just after the horses involved run in their prep races.


You may not particularly fancy Horse A to win the Grand National but you fancy it to win or run very well in its final prep race. In this circumstance you could back the horse for the Grand National before it runs in this prep race and presuming you are correct and the horse runs well then it should shorten in the Grand National betting. The better it runs in its prep run, the more it will shorten for the Grand National. After the horse has shortened you’d have the opportunity to lay the horse for the Grand National at the reduced odds to lock in a profit whatever happens.

Post Final Declarations

An alternative, and slightly more risky method of trading in ante post markets is to back a horse before the final decs, and then lay off after the final decs when the field has been narrowed. The major risk with this is that if the horse doesn’t run, you’ll lose your back and your lay will just be a void bet as you will be laying after the final decs therefore the lay will be under non runner no bet rules.

There are some significant rewards to this style of trading though as the swings in the odds can be much larger than any odds changes before the final decs. This style of trading can often be better suited shorter term ante post markets, such as markets that are formed the week of the race.

The main way to make this style of trading pay is to back almost certain runners in races where many of the fancied horses are unlikely to race. Spotting opportunities can be difficult but if some of the fancied horses have early entries elsewhere, the trainers of the fancied horses have multiple entries in the race, the fancied horses are unlikely to be entered on the likely going or if the fancied horses might miss the cut for the race then the eventually runners will be much shorter after the final decs.

Laying Ante Post

Another use of the ante post markets is to use them simply for laying horses. If you lay a horse ante post and it isn’t in the final decs then you have won your bet even before the race takes place. The best way to do this is to find horses that you think are unlikely to run due to some of the reasons mentioned above rather than laying horses who have apparently been ruled out of the race at huge odds. Horses that have been ruled out of races by connections through injury or other reasons have been known to make miraculous returns.


In 2005 Kicking King was ‘ruled out’ of the Cheltenham Gold Cup due to an infection and as a result those on exchanges after some easy money laid the horse at 999/1 to win the race. To their horror Kicking King recovered much sooner than anticipated and won the Cheltenham Gold Cup after starting the race as the 4/1 favourite.

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