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Ante Post Horse Racing

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Ante Post Horse Racing

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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Comments from the Forum

  • monkeytennis

    <r>How do you approach ante post betting on horses? Does value on the race increase or decrease as the race draws closer?<br/>
    <URL url="http://www.olbg.com/school/lesson73.htm"><s></s>Ante Post Horse Racing<e></e></URL><br/>
    Think this Betting School lesson needs anything else added to it? Disagree with anything written above? Let us know your thoughts and your insight could be included in the OLBG Betting School!</r>
  • nors

    <r><B><s></s>Posted by new member Alexanderbruce<br/>
    With all the hype surrounding ante post markets for the forthcoming classics what are peoples opinions of ante post betting? Years ago I found it quite easy to get odds on an unraced two year old yet now with advent of internet with so much knowledge in the public domain some of the odds are unreal......For example I have backed Australia for the Derby 10/1 and Guineas at 8/1 now as short as 5/2 for the former just on media coverage. I asked for a price on an unraced 2 year old of Gosden's for next years Guineas quoted 20/1!!! What are other people's opinion? This is my first forum post so apologies if its not set out correctly</r>
  • monkeytennis

    <t>There is undoubtedly value to be had in ante post markets but punters have to be more aware these days. Bookies will shorten anything with any hype surrounding it and won't necessarily lengthen other contenders. It's important to look at the overall book percentage on ante post markets to make sure it's worth getting involved in.<br/>
    An example of this would be when fairly big handicaps are priced up around a week before the race. The book percentage will often be shocking and unless the ante post favourite ends up not running a lot of the time you'll get better odds after the final decs - and you won't lose your money then if the horse ends up not running.<br/>
    Probably the best thing to ask yourself when backing ante post is "Will this be popular with other punters?" You may fancy it but if others don't then you'll probably get better odds closer to the race. Favourites for the classics, presuming they run, will most likely start a fair bit shorter than they are now but we are yet to see all the trials so it can be a dangerous game, but also a rewarding one.</t>

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