How do Non-Runners Affect Your Horse Racing Bets

In racing, a non-runner is a horse scheduled to take part in a race but doesn’t start. The point at which a horse is withdrawn doesn’t matter with regards to its status. It will be described as a non-runner if it pulled out one week or one hour before a race. However, the timing does matter from a betting perspective, as we’ll explain later in this guide.

Why horse racing non runners exist?

A horse could be withdrawn from a race for a number of reasons. Sometimes it’s through the choice of an owner, trainer or jockey. Sometimes it’s because of unforeseen circumstances that are not clear until the time of the race. Common reasons for a horse not running include:

⏩ An injury to the horse

⏩ The horse is distressed before the race

⏩ The running conditions aren’t suitable

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How Do Non Runners Affect Horse Racing Bets?

The timing of when a horse pulls out of a race won’t affect its status. In other words, a withdrawal is always known as a non-runner. However, horse racing non-runners will affect the bets you make. If the horse withdraws before the race is declared, you lose your stake.

However, if the race has been declared and your horse is withdrawn, you’ll receive your stake back. Finally, a horse racing non-runner may affect your bet even if you didn’t select it. Basically, if a horse is withdrawn from a race, it will affect the odds of the remaining runners. This is known as Rule 4.

Exceptions to Non-runner Returns?

In general, non-runner horse racing bets are returned if the race has been declared. A race is considered declared at 10am two days before it is scheduled. However, there are two situations where the rules differ:

If the bet was made before the race is declared, it’s known as an ante-post bet. In this situation, bets on non-runners will be lost. 

If the non-runner is part of a multiple/accumulator bet, the wager still stands. However, that race is removed from the accumulator and, therefore, the potential returns will decrease. 

What Does Pulled up Mean in Horse Racing?

When a horse pulls up, it means it started but didn’t finish the race. In technical terms, the horse would be classed as a non-finisher. The important thing to note here is that this classification is different from horse racing non runners. Horse non-runners didn’t start the race.

Therefore, if you bet on one after the race was declared, you’d receive your money back. In the case of non-finishers (horses that pull up), you lose your bet. In contrast, a non-runner can also be called a withdrawal because they were withdrawn from the line-up before the race started.

What are the measures to reduce non-runners?

Racing authorities are constantly coming up with new ways to reduce the number of non-runners in racing. As well as being a problem for event organizers and participants, horse racing non-runners affect your bets. As an industry based on betting, organizers are always looking for ways to reduce the problem. Some of the common measures for reducing the impact non-runners have are:

• 48-hour declarations: Trainers have two days before the start of the race to declare one of their horses as a non-runner

• Trainers with more than 100 declarations and a non-runner rate of 50% or greater will be banned from self-certificating their horses as fit for 12 months

• Stewards to investigate runners declared fit but withdrawn due to ground conditions when the horse has previously run on the identical ground

• Any horse declared as a non-runner will not be able to race for two days following a withdrawal

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Q: If a horse refuses to run, is it declared a non-runner?

If the race starts and your pick refuses to run/leave its stall, it won’t be declared a non-runner. Instead, it will be classed as a non-finisher/pulled up horse. In these situations, you’ll lose your bet.

Q: What happens if my horse is declared a non-runner and I’ve used a bonus bet?

If the race has been declared, you’ll get your bonus credits back in the same way you’d receive a cash bet back. In most instances, you can see bonus cash as real money in these situations as it will be returned and ready to use again. There may be some instances were special rules apply, but these would be at the discretion of the bookmaker.

Q: Are there times when ante-post non-runners aren’t treated as losing bets?

Some bookmakers will return an ante-post stake in the event of a non-runner. This is rare and only usually happens during major events/as part of a special promotion. Under normal circumstances, non-runner ante-post bets are lost.

Q: Can a horse be reinstated if it’s declared a non-runner?

No. Once a race has been declared and a horse is withdrawn, it can no longer take part. Even if the trainer, owner or jockey has made a mistake, the horse can’t be re-entered. This is to prevent cheating both on the part of those involved with the horse and those betting on it.

Q: What happens if two runners in a tricast bet are declared non-runners?

If you’ve made a tricast bet (i.e. a bet on three horses to win/place) and two picks are withdrawn, it will be settled as a single bet using the win odds for the remaining runner. Naturally, if all three picks are withdrawn, the bet will be cancelled and you’ll receive your stake back in full.

Q: How will I know if my horse is a non-runner?

The easiest way to find out if your horse is a non-runner is by checking the starting line-up a few minutes before the off. If you use our recommended bookmakers, each one will provide live updates from the top races from around the world. Alternatively, you can review daily horse racing non-runner lists. These are often maintained by third-party operators and aim to track all the horse non-runners in a single day.

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