Paul Cooper: Rulings on Non-runners

Bet void, Rule 4, Balloted out, Non-runner, no bet. Are you confused?

Bookmakers make much money out of ill-informed punters who are unaware of the refunding of bets that often takes place. 


In an ordinary race if the horse you back during the day or just before the off is withdrawn owing to refusal to enter the stalls, being kicked at the start, horse or jockey being injured or the trainer taking the horse out owing to unsuitable going/ground, the punter gets their money back. 


If a horse is withdrawn after the betting opens and that horse is less than 16/1 there is a Rule 4. Rule 4 is a deduction from all winning bets that the bookmaker is entitled to make. The size of the deduction is on a sliding scale of 5% to 75%. The shorter the price of the horse or horses withdrawn, the bigger the deduction. A rank outsider in the betting that is withdrawn does not justify a Rule 4 deduction at all. 

Ante post betting is different. Ante post betting takes place on the better races ahead of time. I once had £8,000 on Reference Point to win the Derby at 10/1 in the October prior to him winning the Derby the following June. If Reference Point had not run I would have lost my eight grand! Many bookmakers nearer the time offer ‘Non-runner, no bet’ on ante post races. They normally do this within four or five days of a big race, but it is MOST important to check with your bookmaker.

A bet on a horse that is balloted out is also refunded, because the horse was not able to run owing to a maximum field restriction. The Grand National for instance has a safety limit of 40 runners. 

So don’t forget to get your refund if you are owed it.

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