Ante-Post Betting: What It Is and How It Works

Ante-post betting is a type of bet most commonly seen in horse and greyhound racing. It’s a pretty simple concept, but it contributes towards a number of broader topics and questions which we’ll delve into below.

What is ante-post betting?

Ante-post betting is placing a bet before the market has opened for a horse race. This means that a punter places their bet on a specific horse before the runners have been confirmed, often because they believe the odds on offer are better than they will be when the final list of runners is confirmed.

The finalisation of the list of the official runners is a process that is known as an overnight declaration. Betting before the overnight declaration is, therefore, betting on the ante-post market.

As soon all runners have been declared, official betting markets are open and normal bets resume.

What’s the point in ante-post betting?

Until recently, ante-post betting was more risky and therefore presented an opportunity to earn bigger odds. For example, if a horse wins a pretty standard race and is then touted for one of the bigger upcoming races, the bookies start to tempt punters into taking the risk on whether it will be entered for that big race or not.

The impulse comes from the bigger odds, such as offering 20/1 three months before the race when, in all likelihood, if it actually does take part on the day it should be lower – let’s say 6/1.

So it’s easy to see why placing an ante-post bet is attractive to punters who believe they have enough knowledge of a horse’s form to get in there early.

However, ante-post betting traditionally came with risks attached to it. As a punter you take the risk on whether that horse will run or not, but also whether other better horses end up entering.

If the horse you placed your ante-post bet on doesn’t actually enter that race (meaning it did not end up on the list of the official runners), then it’s a non-runner and goes down as a loss, resulting in you losing your stake.

However, in recent times, bookies have used ante-post betting as a way of enticing punters to gamble on big events by offering special bets…

Do you get your money back if your horse is a non-runner?

Traditionally not. An ante-post non-runner is settled as a losing bet, but that is entirely down to the bookmakers.

Until recently it was standard practice amongst bookies that all non-runner ante-post bets were losing bets. However, at some of the major events recently, bookies have declared non-runner no bet specials on some of the ante-post markets.

No bet means it’s void, therefore you got a refund. Bear in mind this was deemed a special promotional offer on certain races, like the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and is not standard practice.

Currently, standard practice is if you bet ante-post on a horse and it doesn’t run, you lose your bet and your stake.

How do you place an ante-post bet?

Ante-post can normally be found by either searching the exact race you want to bet on with your chosen online bookmakers website, or by navigating to the ante-post or future racing sections. Again you’re looking for specific races within those categories like the Grand National or The Derby and they must be future races, listed before the overnight declaration.

It should be like betting on a normal race card with either singles or each-way markets available. As they are treated as normal single bets, they can often be combined into multiples like a double, treble or accumulator. Read more on how to place a bet here.

Why is it called ante-post?

Ante-post basically means betting “before post time”, which isn’t entirely accurate, as ante-post betting is up until the final overnight declaration the night before the race. But the saying is derived from the term “post”, signalling the start of a race.

What does ‘gone to post’ mean?

Sometimes you’ll see the phrase ‘gone to post’, but what does that mean? The post time in horse racing is when the horse race is signalled to start, and is normally called with the ringing of a bell. It is the short period of time between jockeys mounting in the parade ring, getting to their starting position and beginning the race.

About The Gambler

Ryan Murton is the Editor-in-chief at Bookies Reviews. He is a keen football & boxing fan. He also has an interest in the NFL. He is a passionate Burnley supporter & also likes the Green Bay Packers.

Ryan has previously worked for bookmakers like Betfair & Paddy Power, as well as working at Oddschecker, the odds comparison platform.

You can follow Ryan on Twitter or find him on LinkedIn.

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