In horse and greyhound racing in the United Kingdom, Rule 4 is in place to make a pre-agreed amendment when a horse is withdrawn from a race after betting has been placed.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.

OddsDeductions to the pound (£1)
1/9 or shorter90p
2/11 to 2/1785p
1/4 to 1/580p
3/10 to 2/775p
2/5 to 1/370p
8/15 to 4/965p
8/13 to 4/760p
4/5 to 4/655p
20/21 to 5/650p
Evens to 6/545p
5/4 to 6/440p
8/5 to 7/435p
9/5 to 9/430p
12/5 to 3/125p
16/5 to 4/120p
9/2 to 11/215p
6/1 to 9/110p
10/1 to 14/15p
14/1 or higherNo deduction

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bookmakers, Ladbrokes we’re looking at you, decided to ignore the lowest deduction of 5p and apply no deductions on any withdrawn horses that have been priced up somewhere between 10/1 and 14/1.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When a horse or dog is withdrawn, the market is reset with all-new prices to reflect the changes.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 When a selection is withdrawn from a market that has already been reset due a withdrawal then another rule 4 deduction is applied but this time based on the most up to date market and not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 1All betting is defined in Section 9 of the 2005 Gambling Act.
Rule 2Bets can only be amended or cancelled with mutual consent.
Rule 3Each-Way places will be predetermined by the number of starters, except in the case of ante post bets.
Rule 4 (a)Ante post bets made before 10 am on race day are void if the race is abandoned, declared void, saw its conditions changed, venue changed or in the case of horse elimination.
Rule 4 (b)Bets will also be voided if the race is void, abandoned or a horse didn’t start, except in the case of ante post bets.
Rule 4 (c)Deductions apply to bets placed on the day if a horse is withdrawn prior to starters orders.
Rule 4 (d)Should an announcement be made that Rule 4 (C) does not apply due to there being no market at the time of the withdrawal or that the market was formed less than 90 minutes before the start.
Rule 4 (e)Rule 4 (C) will not apply in the case of a replacement runner.
Rule 5Accumulators are not decided until the last race is finished.
Rule 6In the case of a false start or re-run, starting prices will be defined by the prices at the time of the re-run. Rule 4 (C) will apply to withdrawn horses.
Rule 7Bets are settled according to the order of horses at weigh
Rule 8Photo finishes are also settled according to the weigh in .
Rule 9Bets stand by weigh in announcement regardless of objections and stewards enquiries.
Rule 10In the event of a dead heat, all stakes are divided equally between the number of runners in the dead heat.
Rule 11If odds are laid without the horse’s name or issuing a ticket, the bet is determined by the odds at the time the bet was placed..
Rule 12The Tattersalls Committee ruling is final.

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.

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