In horse and greyhound racing in the United Kingdom, Rule 4 is in place to make a pre-agreed amendment when a horse is withdrawn from a race after betting has been placed. It is the fourth rule of the Tattersalls Rules of Racing and is a deduction on the odds at the rate of 90% to the pound.

The first thing to recognise about rule 4 is that it does not vary from bookmaker to bookmaker. Rather, it is industry standard. Put simply, Rule 4 is a deduction that is applied when there is a non-runner in a horse or dog race that has only been declared at the last minute. By this we mean, after final declarations for the race have been made and bettors have accepted their fixed odds price. The deduction is applied at 90% of the pound as per instructions of the Tattersall Committee. Rule 4 does not apply to ante-post bets but does come into force once the final declarations for a race have been made which is, normally, is 24 hours before go time.

### Rule 4 Exceptions

Ante post bets are the game’s main exception as, rather than getting a deducted payback, non-runners that have been backed ante post are non-refundable so you do not get your stake back. There are other ways bookmakers have found ways round parts of the rule. There are some cases where certain bookmakers, Ladbrokes we’re looking at you, decided to ignore the lowest deduction of 5p and apply no deductions on any withdrawn horses that have been priced up somewhere between 10/1 and 14/1.

Let’s say you put £10 on Savvy Punter at 5/1 for the 14.30 at Chepstow. Now, let’s say that the race had a 4/1 withdrawal. As you can see from our deduction chart above, there would be a 20p in the pound rule 4 applied to our selection, meaning we have lost 20% of value.

To work out our return, assuming Savvy Punter wins, our calculation would look as follows:

£50 x (1-(20/100)) = £50 x 0.8= £40

When a horse or dog is withdrawn, the market is reset with all-new prices to reflect the changes. If more runners drop out, the market once again resets, and so on as needed. When a selection is withdrawn from a market that has already been reset due a withdrawal then another rule 4 deduction is applied but this time based on the most up to date market and not the original one.

While this page is dedicated to Rule 4 (c), what about the rest of the Tattersalls Rules of Racing? The Tattersalls Committee established these conditions in 1886, specifically for horse and greyhound racing in the United Kingdom, so it is only right that we give the Tattersalls Rules of Racing a platform here.

Rule 4 is an industry wide deduction that has been in place since 1886. A subsection of the fourth point of the Tattersalls Rule of Racing, the rule’s purpose to ensure the integrity of bookmakers in the instance of non-runners. The reason being that as the bettor, you have accepted odds on an outcome that we find out, only after final declarations have been made, are false due to a non-runner, meaning the price you were given is not a fair reflection of that runner’s chances of success given the reduced field. Thus, the payout receives a deduction to reflect the missing runner in the race and this is all taken as standard across the racing game in the UK. You can also check out our detailed article on Betting Terms & Definitions.

Yes, this is a UK ruling for determining the settling of horse and greyhound racing bets.

No, this is an industry wide procedure. However, betting odds change with alternative bookmakers so the deductions will differ.

Rule 4 states the maximum possible deduction is £0.90 or 90% in the pound (£).

That depends on when you placed your bet. If it was before a withdrawal, it will be subject to Rule 4.

Just like above, the number of places won’t change if you placed the bet before the market was reformed following a non-runner announcement.

WRITTEN BY James Cormack View all posts by James Cormack

Big sports fan specialising in football. Experienced the lows of Vlad Chiriches and Tim Sherwood as a Spurs fan along with the more recent ‘success’ under Pochettino. My following of the New England Patriots since 2012 somewhat makes up for the lack of silverware produced by Spurs in my lifetime.