Horse Betting Terms: What Are Final Declarations In Horse Racing?

As you start out on your quest to look for the weekend’s best horse tips, it is important to ensure that you understand all of the terms and phrases that you encounter in the world of horse race betting. Whether you are at the track for a great day out, watching on the TV with friends, or simply enjoying a quiet weekend of racing on your own, there is plenty to think about and to navigate through as you place your bets. Here we take a look at horse betting terms as we ask: what are final declarations in horse racing?

As you will know, many bookmakers offer ante-post betting for races. This happens for the big race meetings and is designed to get people betting and thinking about the races well in advance of the event. Some bookies may even open the betting for an annual race of meet as soon as the year’s event finishes. Bettors are free to place their bets before the racing begins.

However, 24-48 hours ahead of the race itself taking place, the trainers and riders must declare that they still intend to race in the event. This is known as the final declarations. Of course, it is clear to see that if betting has happened in advance of the race – up to a year in advance if you take our earlier example – then, it is likely that some horses may not be fit or ready to race as was expected. So, if that is the case and they are not included in the final declarations for the race, then the money that has been placed on the horse as a bet needs to be reclaimed or rebet. When this happens, the bookie changes the status of the horse and the bet to a non-runner, no-bet or non-runner-money back.

Each course and event may have slightly different rules surrounding final declarations, and the amount of time given can vary depending on the type and grade of race concerned. For example, the BHA stipulates that declarations to run in a race on a Sunday must be made on the Friday prior to the race. Declarations for horses and riders taking part in flat races must be made two days prior to running. However, it is always wise to check the programme for each race to ensure that you are aware of the cut off times for final declarations as this will give you an accurate time scale in which to work. Make sure that you check your  bet in advance of the race and that you are happy with each bookie’s protocol around bets made on non-runners.

Steps to reduce the number of non-runners have been taken by the BHA as having a high number of non-runners can create uncertainty in the betting markets and this puts people off betting, getting involved in the sport and takes away some of the enjoyment that we all get from betting on races.