Horse Racing Non Runners

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One of the most common features of horse racing, as well as Formula 1 and motorcycle racing, is the non runners who are named to participate in the event but didn’t take a part in it for whatever reason. However, the non runners, even those you haven't wagered on, can cancel your bet or change its formula. In this guide, we will answer all your questions about Horse racing non runners. How your bet is affected if one or more horses withdraw from a race and why some horses can't participate in the event.

Horse Racing Non Runners
Horse Racing Non Runners

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Last updated: May 2024

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What Is a Non Runner Horse?

A non-runner is a horse that is named to the race but is not announced in the final list of runners! In addition, many experts consider a horse that does not participate in the race a few minutes before its start is also non runner. However, many sports betting sites consider it withdrawn! So, it is important to read the rules of betting on your Bookmaker before signing up and betting on horse racing.

Some novice bettors downplay the non runners as being rare, but this is absolutely not true! It is very common and occurs in all racing sports including horse racing, Formula 1, Rally, track cycling. However, the way sports betting sites treat non-racers varies.

The racing environment greatly affects the participating horses. The percentage of horses not participating in flat turf races in the period between 2012-2016 ranged from 10.5% to 11.5. While the percentage of horses not participating in jump tracks during the same period ranged from only 6.5% to 7.5%. According to British Horse Racing.

Why Might a Horse Be a Non Runner?

Many reasons may lead a horse to withdraw from a race, and they are as follows:

Injury

The horse may suffer an injury but the trainer wanted to test what the horse could do during the pre-game exercise. Thus, the non runners declaration usually delays. Note that trainers benefit financially from participating in a race and the horse withdraw is the last thing they want! However, the trainer needs to inform the organizers that the horse is unable to participate as quickly as possible so that fans and bookies can deal with this change quickly. Injuries to horses are like injuries to any athlete, such as strains, tendon ruptures, fractures, and dislocations. In general, if a horse participated in two races, it would not be able to participate in the third, and if it participated, it would not get any place!

Travel Conditions

Travel conditions may make the horse unable to participate for several reasons, including not sleeping enough hours. Training for longer periods than usual. Or even a disruption of the biological clock.

Unsuitable Ground/ Weather

It is also possible for a horse to withdraw from participation due to unsuitable ground or weather conditions, which is the most common reason; Horses run faster on the ground that they practiced on. For instance, if a horse has had 6 races recently, won 5 and lost the sixth, most likely it was because it was running on different ground. Heavy rain on the sandy soil turns it into mud.

Trainer's Decision

In general, the trainer can withdraw the horse for any reason, as he may see that the horse's health condition is not well or that his physical efficiency is not up to the required level. Withdrawal of a horse is a matter of his own discretion and decision since he is not, in the first place, obligated to give reasons for his horse's non running.

When Will the Organizers Announce the Non Runners?

Organizers announce the non runners at any time before the start of the race. Meaning that a horse may not be considered a participant if it withdraws after the announcement of the tentative list or a few minutes before the race; Due to heavy rain and change of the race grounds. However, many analysts, and bookmakers, also consider that a horse that quits before the start of the race is a non runner. So, any bet placed on it is lost! 

It is important to not treat horses with the same laws that apply to human contestants. They are creatures that do not speak and cannot express their health or psychological state like humans. So, we advise you to sign up for one of the betting sites from our recommended sites that considers all horses who did not take part in the race as non runners.

What Will Happen If You Place a Bet on Non Runners?

You likely place an ante-bet on a horse and it withdraws afterwards. In this case, any of the following could happen:

  • If you place a single bet, the betting site will refund the stake amount to your balance.
  • If you place a Double, Triple, quadrable, lucky 15, or ACCA including a non runner/s selection, the stake placed on will return While the rest of the betting options will remain active, but your potential winnings will be less. For example, if you place a triple bet, it becomes a double bet.
  • If you use the bonus amount to bet on a horse and it doesn’t participate in the race, the bonus will likely return to your account or might be cancelled completely.

What Is the Rule Number 4?

In the old days, betting shops would give bettors a ticket with the different betting rules on the back, and the non-runners cancelling bet rule was number 4! Although the form of sports betting has evolved in the modern era thanks to the spread of the Internet. This term is still widely used among bettors around the world.

What Would Happen If You Place a Trifecta Bet and one of the Horses Withdrawn?

As we have already mentioned, dealing with non runners varies from one bookmaker to another. So, it is important to review the terms and conditions. Most of the time, if you place a trifecta bet and one of your selections quit the race, its betting stake will return to your balance while bets on other places will remain active. See also matched betting page.

Conclusion

Non runners are a common phenomenon in all racing sports including horse racing, Formula 1 and motorcycles. However, the announcement of non-runners may be delayed for a long time as the trainers try every possible solution. But if it is not able to participate, they will tell the organizers that the horse is a non runner.

A horse may not participate in the race for many reasons, including injury, weather conditions, and the race grounds. Regardless of the reasons, you should review the betting site's terms and conditions. And ensure that your bet will return if the horse does not take part in the race!

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FAQ About Non Runners

If a horse appears on the track but refuses to run, is it a “non-runner”?

If the final list includes the horse but refused to run at the start of the race it will be considered as withdrawn, and therefore you will lose your bet!

What happens if I bet on a non runners?

Most of the time the betting site will refund you the value of your bet so you won’t lose or win!

What will happen if you bet on a non-runner horse using the bonus?

If you bet on a non-runner horse using any bonus you may get the bonus amount back. However, sometimes the bonus may be cancelled completely. So, it is important to read the terms and conditions of the bonus.

Can the Betting Site Consider Non Runners As losers?

Yes, it depends on the terms and conditions of the betting site you play on! 

Can a Non Runner Horse Back to Race Again?

No, if the organizers declared that the horse is a non runner, it can’t take part in the race again. Even if the horse can participate and the trainer makes a mistake! This rule is important to prevent cheating and manipulation of bookmakers’ odds.

Will I Lose My Trifecta Bet if It Includes a Non Participating Horse?

If you place a Trifecta bet (a bet on three horses to win the first three places in the exact order) and one or more horses withdraw, the bet will remain active on the remaining odds and the betting site will refund your stake on the non-runners/horses. Likewise, if all three horses are non runners, the betting site will return your whole bet to your balance.

How Do I Know If a Horse Is a Non Runner?

You can verify this by checking the final participants list a few minutes before the race start. If you play at one of the trusted sports betting sites that we recommend; You will get real-time updates on all the horse racing around the world.

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