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Rule 4 is a bookmaker’s deduction that is made on a horse when there is a non-runner in a race after the final declarations for that race have been made and you have taken a fixed odds price

Over the last numerous years punters have argued that the system is outdated and needs serious consideration, as the bookmaker seems to always be on a winner and the punter is dealing with something out of his or her control.

For instance, if you have £10 win on a horse and take 5/1 (6.0 in decimal odds) and the 2/1 (3.0) favourite then becomes a non-runner, your 5/1 (6.0) is looking very generous but that can also work against you on so many other bets.

On markets on the day of a race anyone who backs a non-runner will get their stakes refunded. Those people who backed the 2/1 shot will have their money refunded and therefore Rule 4 exists to make a deduction from your bet on the 5/1 shot. This is because if the 2/1 favourite had not been in the betting for the race when you placed your bet your 5/1 shot may have been, say 3/1.

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Rule 4 deductions only occur AFTER the final declarations for a race are made. This is when non-runners mean you get your stake back. Usually, but not always, the final declaration stage is 24 hours before the race. It can be 48 hours before a race.

Rule 4 does not apply to any ante-post market. Ante-post or futures markets are betting on a horse race before the final declarations are known. If you back a non-runner in an ante-post market, then you do not get your money back so obviously no Rule 4 is applied to the people who are holding bets on horses that benefit from this non-runner.

The official Tattersalls Rule 4 deductions, as applied by all UK and Irish bookmakers, are as follows:

  1. a) If the current odds of the non-runner are 1/9 or shorter at the time the non-runner withdraws from the race, then 90p in £/E/$ is deducted (or 90% of winnings)
  2. b) If over 2/11 up to and including 2/17, 85% of winnings deducted
  3. c) If over 1/4 up to and including 1/5, 80% of winnings deducted
  4. d) If over 3/10 up to & including 2/5, 70% of winnings deducted
  5. e) If over 2/5 up to and including 8/15, 65% of winnings deducted
  6. f) If over 8/15 up to and including 8/13, 60% of winnings deducted
  7. g) If over 8/13 up to and including 4/5, 55% of winnings deducted
  8. h) If over 4/5 up to and including 20/21, 50% of winnings deducted
  9. i) If over 20/21 up to and including 6/5, 45% of winnings deducted
  10. j) If over 6/5 up to and including 6/4, 40% of winnings deducted
  11. k) If over 6/4 up to and including 7/4, 35% of winnings deducted
  12. l) If over 7/4 up to and including 9/4, 30% of winnings deducted
  13. m) If over 9/4 up to and including 3/1, 25% of winnings deducted
  14. n) If over 3/1 up to and including 4/1, 20% of winnings deducted
  15. o) If over 4/1 up to and including 11/2, 15% of winnings deducted
  16. p) If over 11/2 up to and including 9/1, 10% of winnings deducted
  17. q) If over 9/1 up to and including 14/1, 5% of winnings deducted
  18. r) If the non-runner is over 14/1 then there is no deduction

In the event of there being two or more withdrawals in one event, the total deduction shall not exceed 90p in £ (or 90% of the winnings). The Rule 4 deduction is not applied to the winning client’s returned stake, only to their winnings.