Ante-post betting is most certainly not for the faint-hearted, but the rewards to those brave enough to take the plunge can be very satisfying indeed.
The basic idea which underlies an ante-post bet is that the punter is betting weeks (or even months) in advance of the race actually taking place, in the hope of securing far greater odds about their selection than would be available on the day. Punters analyse free horse racing tips
, banker double racing tips
and NAP horse racing tips
to pick out their best selections.
Bookmakers will often open ante-post markets well in advance of major races throughout the year, and for some of the biggest races (for example, the Cheltenham Gold Cup), betting markets for the following year’s race are often formed immediately after the current year’s result is known.
There is, of course, a major downside to ante-post betting. Should your selection not take part in the race (i.e. a non-runner), you will lose all of your stake money. This is in direct contrast to bets placed on the day of the race, which are fully refundable in the event of a non-runner.
In effect, an ante-post bet consists of two parts. The first part is that your selection must actually make it through the weeks and months leading into the race injury free, and actually make it to the start line on the day (not as easy as it sounds when you consider the delicate nature of the thoroughbred racehorse). The second part (of course) is that your selection must then go and actually win the race in question!
The advantage to be gained from ante-post betting is basically getting bigger odds about your chosen horse. Sometimes these larger odds simply reflect the compensation required for needing to get to the day of the race in top form, for example, Douvan is currently evens for next year’s Champion Chase at Cheltenham. In reality, on the day of the race this racing superstar will most likely go off at around 1/2 or even 1/3, but the evens offered are a reflection of the dangers he will face from an injury point of view during his prep races next season.
In other cases, the larger odds are available because the horse in question hasn’t shown the level of form yet to win the big race. This is often the situation with novices (especially novice hurdlers), as at the start of the season fancy prices are available for the Supreme Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham, often for horses who have yet to jump a hurdle in public! Many punters were holding fancy ante-post dockets about the Willie Mullins-trained Min for the Supreme Novices Hurdle, as he was available at 50/1 soon after joining the yard from France, but he had yet to run in Britain or Ireland at the time. For the record, Min went off the 15/8 favourite, but had no answer to the brilliant Altior, leaving his backers frustrated.
Sonny Carey riding Min from the Willie Mullins stable.
Brave punters will also consider ante-post bets on horses running in a noted trial for a race, in anticipation of an impressive victory ahead of further glory. For example, the Dante Stakes at York is a renowned trial for the Epsom Derby, and any horse that wins in York will undoubtedly have is Epsom odds shortened dramatically in the aftermath.
The theory would be in relation to a horse that might be odds on for a Dante win (for example, Authorized in 2007). Authorized went on to win the Derby impressively at odds of 5/4, but punters who had backed him before his Dante win would have been able to secure much larger odds. This can, of course, backfire spectacularly, and should Authorized have been well beaten in the Dante, he may not even have run in the Derby!
All in all, ante-post betting is very much about weighing up the risks and rewards on each individual basis. It should really only be considered in scenarios where the horses’ odds will almost certainly be much shorter on the day of the race, and a selective approach (combined with a huge amount of luck) is needed to make this type of betting worthwhile.