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Ante-post betting is a bet that is placed some time before an event, whether that be a few days, weeks or months. For horse racing specifically, this is a bet that is place before all runners have been confirmed at the final declaration stage. These bets are more commonly known in other sports as ‘futures’ bets. Horse racing is a very popular sport for betting ante-post because each time the horse in question runs, or even a key rival for the future race in question, often new opinions are formed and the odds can change drastically.
Simply put, bettors are trying to get the best value for their selection which can often be done some time before the event. Using horse racing as an example, if a horse is 20/1 for a race in March but wins a key race or trial before then, the odds on that horse are very likely to be cut significantly meaning anybody who bet the horse ante-post will have much bigger odds than what will be available on the day of the race. Another key element of ante-post betting on horse racing is that there are no Rule 4 deductions as runners inevitably are removed from the market.
Shrewder punters can also use the betting exchanges to trade out of (lay) an ante-post bet for a profit. This can be played several ways but is usually because they have identified a horses which is initially overvalued meaning that they can lay the horse at a smaller price than what they initially backed it at. Place terms can also be a good reason to bet ante-post. For example, if bettors believe that a field will end up with seven runners or less on the day, meaning standard place terms will pay two at the most, then the three places on offer at the time of placing the bet could be of huge benefit come the day of the race.
The key point in betting on a horse racing ante-post market is whether or not a horse will actually run in the race. If the horse is declared and bet on the day of the race, all bookmakers will refund your stake if the horse doesn’t line up for any reason. With ante-post betting, bettors would lose their stake unless the bookmaker offers Non-Runner No Bet (NRNB) at the time the bet was made.
Other factors that should be considered are that subsequent runs from your horse may change your opinion and, in some cases, the odds can actually increase from when you initially made the bet – bookmakers will not pay Best Odds Guaranteed in this case. Place terms can also be better on the day with the majority of firms offering extra places, sometimes paying up to as many as seven places in a big field handicap rather than the standard industry four.