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Peter Addison

Ante post betting is a form of (usually) horse racing betting where bets are placed days, weeks or even months in advance. The idea is that prices long before the markets for an event open are much more generous than on the day of the event. For example, a mount priced at Evens on the day of the event may have been priced at 4/1 ante post.

Experts in ante-post betting will enjoy much greater returns than punters who leave it until the day of the race to place their bets, with the downside being that ante-post markets are not available on all events, and not all bookmakers offer ante-post betting. This page will act as your full guide to the ante post meaning, and how you can use it to maximise your betting returns.

How Does Ante-Post Betting Work?

If you head to any online bookmakers, you will be able to see the ante-post markets that they have available. Just for information, the term ‘ante-post’ comes from the French word ‘ante’ and means ‘before the start’ – just like the same term in poker and some other card games. ‘Post’ comes from the post that was erected at racecourses to signal that on-course bookmaking was now available, with punters queueing at the post to place their bets. Therefore, ‘ante-post’ simply means ‘before the opening of the fixed betting markets’.

Horse Racing

Ante-post betting is usually only available on popular racecards such as the Grand National and the Derby, and racing events like Goodwood and Cheltenham. You can, however, explore your favourite horse racing betting sites to see which ante-post betting markets are available.

In the UK, the runners for any race are usually set 48 hours before the time of the race’s start. The specific market for the same race will usually open at a declared time on the day of the race. Any bets placed before that time are counted as ante-post bets, and have their own rules which will be discussed in the next section.

Note that betting in running horse racing (i.e. live betting) does not apply to betting ante post.

Ante Post Betting Rules

Ante-post bets differ little from bets placed on the day, but because ante-post prices are usually more generous than ‘day of the race’ prices, there are some specific rules that you need to be aware of, and in particular the three below.

Best Odds Guaranteed Does Not Count

Many online betting sites now offer ‘best odds guaranteed’ on UK and Irish horse racing, and some on greyhounds too. There are two prices involved if you bet – the price at which you placed your bet, and the starting price. With ‘Best Odds Guaranteed’ or BOG, any winning bets are settled at the more beneficial price. Therefore, if you place your bet at 4/1 and the starting price is 9/2, you would be paid out at 9/2.

However, if you place an ante-post bet, the price is fixed at the ante post odds at which you placed your bet. If your ante-post bet was placed at 4/1 and the starting price was 9/2, you would be paid at 4/1. You can check any site with BOG to see at which time prices become eligible. This is usually on the day of the race, between 7am and 10am.

Extra Places Do Not Count

Normally, if you place an each-way bet it’s the first three or four finishers (depending on the number of runners in the race) that qualify as a place. Many times online UK bookmakers will offer ‘extra places’ that qualify as a place. This means that the place part of an each-way bet will still win if your chosen mount finishes fifth, or even sixth.

Unfortunately, if you place an each-way bet on your selection on an ante-post basis, it’s unlikely that your selection will qualify for the extra place offer.

Rule 4 Doesn’t Apply (But Rule 3 Does)

Rule 3 of racing rules (called the Tattersalls Committee Rules on Betting) determines how many runners count as a place. For example, if the race has six runners then first or second counts as a place with a quarter the odds. If, from the time you place your bet to the race start the number of runners is reduced, then the places that qualify as a place change accordingly. This rule still applies even if your bet was an ante-post bet.

Rule 4 of racing rules does not apply to ante-post bets though. Rule 4 reduces winnings if the number of runners that start is less than the number of runners on which odds were calculated. For example, if your chosen mount wins at 7/1 but a declared horse fails to start the race, then your winnings are reduced by 10 pence per pound. A £5 bet at 7/1 would win (not return) £34.50, and not £35 as it would have done if all mounts declared had started. With ante-post betting this is not something you have to worry about as Rule 4 does not apply.

Ante Post Horse Racing Markets

Ante post betting is primarily related to horse racing. While the majority of horse racing meetings are available for an ante post bet, it is the biggest races and meetings that have the most ante post bets placed upon them. Here we take a look at four of the biggest races and horse racing ante post betting markets.

➡️Grand National Ante Post Betting

The UK’s premier National Hunt horse race was first run in 1839, and is traditionally held at the Aintree racecourse in Merseyside. This legendary race is regarded as the toughest steeplechase in National Hunt races, with towering fences such as Becher’s Brook, The Chair and The Canal Turn. It is also usually the most-watched horse race in the UK each year, with a firm place on the annual racing calendar each April. Ante post prices for the Grand National are usually available months in advance, as are five other races during the three-day Grand National festival.

Ante Post Betting for the Grand National Meeting

  • Aintree Bowl Chase
  • Aintree Hurdle
  • Marsh Chase
  • Grand National

➡️Cheltenham Ante Post Betting

Prior to the Grand National, the four-day Cheltenham Festival takes place at Cheltenham Racecourse in Gloucester every March. This is a National Hunt meeting featuring several prominent races, including the Champion Hurdle, the Queen Mother Champion Chase, the Festival Trophy and the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Several races on the festival card are available for ante post bets.

Ante Post Betting for the Cheltenham Festival

  • Champion Hurdle
  • Queen Mother Champion Chase
  • Ryanair Chase
  • Stayer’s Hurdle
  • Cheltenham Gold Cup

➡️The Epsom Derby Ante Post Betting

Originally run in 1780 and taking place in early June each year, the Epsom Derby is the UK’s leading flat race. It is run at the Epsom Downs Racecourse in Surrey. For years it was second only to the Grand National in terms of popularity, but such popularity has waned in recent times. Still, it features prominently as a top race for ante post options.

Ante Post Betting for the Epsom Derby Meeting

  • Diomed Stakes
  • The Derby
  • Princess Elizabeth Stakes
  • Handicap Stakes
  • Tokyo Trophy Handicap Stakes

➡️Glorious Goodwood Ante Post Betting

Although now officially known as the ‘Qatar Goodwood Festival’, most racegoing fans refer to this annual meeting by its traditional name of Glorious Goodwood. Run in late July and August each year, it remains one of the highlights of the British flat racing calendar with its three most prominent races being the Sussex Stakes, the Goodwood Cup and the Nassau Stakes. Many of the races across the five-day meeting are available for ante post bet options.

Ante Post Betting for Goodwood

  • Nassau Stakes
  • Goodwood Cup
  • Sussex Stakes

Ante Post Racing Calendar

Here, for your convenience, we have created a table outlining all the prominent races in the UK where ante post betting is available.

Race/Meeting Where When
Cheltenham Festival Cheltenham Mid-March
All Weather Championships Newcastle End of March
Grand National Festival Aintree Mid-April
Scottish Grand National Ayr Mid-April
Jump Finale Sandown Park End of April
Guineas Festival Newmarket Start of May
May Festival Chester Mid-May
Dante Festival York Mid-May
Lockinge Stake Day Newbury Mid-May
Derby Festival Epsom Downs End of May/Start of June
Royal Ascot Ascot Mid-June
Northumberland Plate Festival Newcastle End of June
Summer Festival Sandown Park Start of July
July Festival Newmarket Mid-July
King George Weekend Ascot End of July
Goodwood Festival Goodwood End of July/Start of August
Ebor Festival York Mid-August
Sprint Cup Festival Haydock Park Mid-September
St Leger Festival Doncaster Mid-September
Ayr Gold Cup Ayr Mid-September
Cambridgeshire Meeting Newmarket End of September
Future Champions Day Newmarket Mid-October
British Champions Day Ascot Mid-October
Autumn Afternoon Meeting Doncaster End of October
The November Meeting Cheltenham Mid-November
Winter Carnival Newbury End of November
Tingle Creek Christmas Festival Sandown Park Start of December
Christmas Festival Kempton Park Boxing Day onwards
Welsh Grand National Chepstow End of December

The National Hunt season runs from November until April. The Flat season runs from May until October.

Ante Post Greyhound Racing

You can bet on greyhound racing on an ante post basis too, although the greyhound racing calendar is not as exclusive or extensive as the horse racing calendar. We have picked out a few leading greyhound races where ante post betting on greyhounds is usually available.

Race/Meeting Where When
Golden Jacket Crayford End of February
TV Trophy Crayford Mid-April
The Hunt Cup Oxford Mid-April
The Laurels Perry Barr End of April
Kent St Ledger Crayford Mid-May
English Greyhound Derby Towcester End of June
Champion Hurdle Crayford End of June
Irish Greyhound Derby Shelbourne Park End of July
The Regency Cup Hove End of July
The Sussex Cup Hove End of July
Pall Mall Stakes Oxford End of July
The Select Stakes Nottingham End of August
Gold Cup Monmore End of August
St Leger Perry Barr End of September
Champion Stakes Romford Mid-October
The Oaks Perry Barr End of October
Grand National Hove Mid-November
Challenge Cup Oxford Mid-December

Ante Post Betting Tips to Get You Started

If you are accustomed to betting on the day of the race, then ante post betting may be new to you. To get your new ante post career off the the best start possible, here are a handful of useful ante post betting tips that should come in handy.

  1. Back Your Mounts Before the Prices Get Worse

    Although ante post prices are available months in advance, they will shorten as the day of the race approaches. The horses don’t just stand in the stables as they await the big day, they take part in trials and preparation runs. If a horse performs well, their odds will of course shorten, so get your bets on your fancied mounts as soon as the ante post prices are available and before they start to shorten.
  2. Will Your Chosen Mount Actually Run?

    Perhaps the hardest part of ante post wagering is selecting mounts (or hounds) that are going to run. Just because a horse is entered into a race does not mean it’s going to be declared, although usually it does. Check owner and trainer news about any horse or dog you are thinking about backing ante post, to see if an entry is likely to be withdrawn rather than declared.
  3. Start With the Experts Before Going It Alone

    If you are brand new to ante post bets, then it’s probably preferable to follow the advice of leading tipsters before you branch out and start selecting your own ante post bets. There are plenty of top tipsters out there on the internet, and most are willing to hand out their ante post betting tips for free. In addition, if you are new to ante post bets it’s best to keep your initial stakes low.

Where to Find Ante Post Betting Markets

All leading bookmakers in the UK will have ante post betting markets. All you need to do is head to the horse racing (or greyhound racing) section of the site. Most of the races mentioned will be that day’s racecards, but if you hunt around a little, you’ll find the ante post racing options easily enough.

Before you place any ante post bets make sure you check the site’s rules about betting in advance of declarations. Most follow the same ante post script, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Also check any site’s special offers, as some will offer beneficial deals for ante post bets that you can take advantage of.

Pros and Cons of Ante Post Betting

Like all forms of betting, ante post wagering has its positives and negatives. Below we’ve outlined a few pros and cons of this way of betting on horse racing or greyhounds.


  • You get better prices than SPs
  • If you know horse racing or greyhound racing inside out, you could make big profits
  • UK betting sites may have special deals for ante post bets
  • Rule 4 reduction does not apply


  • If your selection is not declared, you lose your wager
  • Best Odds Guaranteed does not apply to ante post bets
  • Your horse may be heavily handicapped if it performs well before the race


If the phrase ‘ante post’ held any mystery for you, we hope that any mystery has now been blown away. Remember, ante post usually only applies to horse racing and greyhound racing, and means betting on a race before runners are declared, which usually happens 48 hours before the race’s start. It means you could enjoy better prices, but with the risk of your stake being lost if your chosen mount is not declared. If you know your horses or dogs, you could make considerable profits!


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Peter Addison
Peter Addison

Peter is one of the most well-known and well-respected names working in the field of online sports betting today. Having a Bachelor of Arts degree, Peter has worked for many high-profile publications in the industry, both online and in the real world. He joined the SafestBettingSites team in 2021 and has provided millions of words ever since. When not writing, Peter enjoys performing and writing music, gaming, reading and he is a massive movie buff, with a particular love of Japanese cinema and anime.