Some of the biggest and best bookmakers for horse racing have decided to take the unprecedented step of introducing Non-Runner, No Bet offers for the Cheltenham Festival nearly two months before it’s due to get underway. Normally bookies save this particular type of offer until much closer to the time, for the simple reason that they know a lot of horses will be moved from one race to another or withdrawn altogether closer to the start of the Festival. They’re therefore happy enough to let you place ante-post bets, knowing there’s a good chance that you’ll lose it if your horse ends up not running.
For those that aren’t too sure, I’m going to use this post to explain what a Non-Runner, No Bet offer is, why you might want to take advantage of the bookmakers that are offering them right now and whether or not you’ll want to jump on any ante-post bets of certain horses before their prices start to come in a bit as the main event approaches. I’ll also have a little look at ante-post betting as a strategy and whether or not it’s worth looking towards.
NRNB For All Races at Cheltenham Festival 2018
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Table accurate as of 25/01/2018
What Is A Non-Runner, No Bet Offer?
In order to properly understand a Non-Runner, No Bet offer you first need to get your head around what an ante-post bet is. Some of you may already know this, of course, and this will be a little bit like teaching Grandma to suck eggs. Even so, it’s always handy to remind yourself of how an offer works and why it should appeal.
The simplest way of thinking about an ante-post bet is that it’s a wager placed on a future event, usually at least one day before the event in question gets underway. Bookmakers usually give longer odds on ante-post bets than those placed nearer the time as there’s an element of risk to them. That risk comes in the form of the bet being ‘all-in’, meaning that if the selection that you’ve made for your bet ends up not running in the race for pretty much any reason then your bet will be a loser.
The name of the Non-Runner, No Bet offer tells you everything you need to know. With this offer, if your selection doesn’t take part in the event that you’ve bet on it in then your bet will be declared void and you’ll receive your stake back. Given that you can bet on major races like the Gold Cup and Grand National close to a year in advance on ante-post bets, you can see why bookies are reluctant to offer Non-Runner, No Bet promotions too far out. After all, so much can happen in a year!
Is NRNB a Good Offer For Cheltenham?
William Hill, Bet365, Paddy Power and RaceBets have all confirmed that they are already offering Non-Runner, No Bet promotions on all twenty-eight races that will take place at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival. That’s well over a month and a half away at the time of writing, meaning that you can place the equivalent of risk-free ante-post bets on any race that takes your fancy. The advantage of that is that you’ll be able to place bets on decent horses with longer odds than you’ll probably be able to find if you wait until the day of the race itself, but if the horse ends up not running then your stake will be returned to you to bet on another horse at the last moment.
As an example of how prices can shift, Un De Sceaux was the 4/1 favourite for the Ryanair Chase when I did a blog post about the big five races a week or so ago. He’s now 3/1, which might not seem like a huge shift but it’s enough if you’re betting with decent sized stakes.
Looking at the Stayers’ Hurdle, Yanworth was 10/1 with Paddy Power when I wrote that post, but has now come in to 7/1. That’s a more significant bit of movement in the market than with Un De Sceaux, showing exactly how much things can change the closer to the starting bell we get.
On the flip side, of course, Apple’s Jade has moved from 3/1 when I wrote my last blog to 7/2 now. That is, perhaps, an indication that opting for an ante-post bet now before having a look at where the prices are at nearer the time might be a clever bet of betting.
Cheltenham Ante-Post Betting Strategy
One of the big questions I often ask myself is whether or not ante-post betting is all that clever a strategy. After all, how much will prices really move over the course of a month or so?
The truth is that it’s always a matter of risk versus reward. On the one hand, if bookies are willing to offer odds before the season has even got underway properly then there’s a real chance that you’ll be able to get decent prices. Bookmakers base their initial odds on all sorts of things, but a horse’s form is certainly one of them. If horses haven’t really had a chance to demonstrate much form then odds will be longer to reflect that.
On the other hand, if you’re betting on racing that far out then it’s not exactly out of the realms of the possible that the horse you’ve bet on will pick up an injury or be moved to a different race. Owners and trainers will often enter a horse into several different races before deciding closer to the time which one their charge will be more likely to win. If you place an ante-post bet without any backup then your stake will be lost if they decide the race that you’ve bet on isn’t right for them.
That’s why these bookies introducing Non-Runner, No Bet offers so early is such a big deal. It basically removes the risk side of things and only presents a reward. If the horse you’ve selected for your ante-post bet races then that’s excellent, especially if it’s victorious. If it doesn’t race then your stake is returned and you can do with it whatever you want. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the definition of a win-win.
It is worth noting however that not all ante-post bets with NRNB are also covered by best odd guarantee, so do check. You also may miss out on enhanced place terms available closer to the event, something to bear in mind if you are betting each way.