When it comes to big sporting events, it’s incredibly common to see odds listed as ante post. But what does it mean, and why are those odds available so far in advance?

Basically, ante post betting is when you place a bet weeks or even months before the event occurs.

It is most popular in horse racing for the likes of the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National. Odds for the following year can become available almost as soon as this year’s race has ended.

As an example as soon as last year’s Grand National ended, odds for the 2024 race became instantly available.

Traditionally the odds on offer tend to be much larger when they are ante post. And there’s a very good reason for this.

Ante Post Betting Risks

Firstly you are betting on a race before the official race lineup is known.

That means the horse you back may not even get an entry. Even if it gets an entry, it still isn’t guaranteed to run!

Your horse may get injured or connections may opt to race elsewhere.

If either of these events occur, then you will ultimately lose your bet. And that’s the issue with ante post betting markets.

If you place a bet and your horse does not run, for whatever reason, you lose your money.

A very obvious example for the 2024 Grand National was Gaillard Du Mesnil. The 2023 third place finisher was a joint favourite in the ante post betting market and he didn’t even get an entry from Willie Mullins.

There are also horses still in the betting market, who have absolutely no chance of making the cut when the final 34 runners are declared.

They are simply too far down the list to get in. However, there are still ante post odds available on them.

Should You Wait?

It wasn’t that long ago that odds changed from ante post to Non Runner Money Back only days before the Grand National.

However, the good news is that bookmakers have been switching over earlier than ever.

And there’s a good reason for this. More and more people are happy to take a punt on the National but don’t want to risk their cash.

If a bookmaker holds off they risk being inundated with requests for new accounts and their systems come under real pressure.

If they can spread customer’s bets over a much longer period of time two things happen.

The first is that they lock you in earlier and get to bank your cash. The second is that it’s easier for their systems to log as many bets as possible closer to race day.

The risk for you is eliminated but the odds on offer will be lower to balance things out.

Non Runner Money Back

It does exactly what it says on the tin. If you back a horse under Non Runner Money Back or No Runner No Bet and your horse does not run, you get your money back.

This is usually only done on the largest horse races of the year, like the Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Likewise for the bump in promotions. Historically, the extra places were only offered a few days before the National.

But again, in order to get the customers to part with their cash, you will now see online bookmakers offer 5 or even 6 places on the National up to a month before the actual race.

Many professional punters choose ante post bets on horse racing because it is the ultimate test of skill.

There is no better way to test your knowledge than picking a winning horse days or months before the race.

However, it is extremely difficult to win an ante post bet so make sure you you’ve read the terms and conditions before you bet your hard earned money!