The Guide to Ante Post Wagering
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The Guide to Ante Post Wagering

Ante post wagering is one of the unique features of a well-developed betting culture and it can offer up the opportunity for tremendously-inflated winning margins.

However, that tremendous upside is countered by the fact that ante post wagering is notoriously difficult and tremendous care should be taken before staking substantial sums on long-term outcomes.

When you're making the average wager on the average horse race, you're watching the horses in front of you in the walking ring and you're deciding who the best selection is over the next twenty minutes until the off. On certain ante post wagers, you are betting on a contender who may not run for several weeks or months and may even have other races before the specific race you're wagering on.

A lot can happen in horse racing in a very short period of time and this risk is what makes ante post markets carry such (potentially) inflated prices.

How Ante Post Markets Work

You can find ante post wagering online at virtually all major bookmakers provided the race you want to wager on is a higher-profile contest that tends to attract a fair amount of betting attention.

Ante post markets for big contests like the Arc De Triomphe, the 2000 Guineas or the Dubai World Cup tend to be launched just as soon as the previous years' race finishes.

These markets will take money for a long period of time and be subject to some potentially massive swings as contenders are withdrawn or declared for the specific race. A simple statement from an owner, trainer or even stable-hand can prompt an ante post run. Needless to say, ante post wagering is tremendously popular on betting exchanges.

The two key aspects of long-term ante post wagering are:

  • Watch the racing news like a hawk
  • Learn to think like the connections do

Certain types of horses will be pointed at certain major races based on their ability and preference for a specific distance or surface.

It doesn't make much sense to back an accomplished English two-year-old that has only won running on the grass to ship over to America and win the Kentucky Derby – it doesn't really make a huge amount of sense since the horse is already winning on grass and will likely be pointed at the 2000 Guineas instead.

Lean to Think Like Connections

Though there are exceptions to every rule, trainers tend to follow similar patterns year over year. If you're in any doubt, it helps to go online and examine the path that other winners of that race have taken to get there.

Ante post wagering isn't really recommended for outright novices unless you have a good business sense and a knowledge of the age-old concept of Buy-High/Sell-Low.

This concept is the core one of ante post racing and somebody who has a better knowledge of stocks and options might be able to pick up ante post wagering relatively quickly, provided they know where to find the correct information and then how to interpret it.

The key aspect to turning a profit at ante post wagering is to get the timing just right and to keep your stakes reasonable – always tell yourself that anything can happen to derail your horse from even running in this particular race. He could injure himself in training, get sick or just be pointed towards another race.

Some ante post markets will offer a punter their money back if the horse withdraws from the race for certain reasons, but with most ante post betting markets you are on your own. Look for words like “non-runner money-back” and “non-runner no-bet” in the fine print if you aren't completely sure. It's the classic balance of risk and reward and you'll find familiar financial logic to be at play.

There are a large number of reasons why you might be inclined to place an ante post wager but be sure to think of the timeline before and after you place your bet. Try to find out if your selection is being pointed at any races before your ante post wager.

Buying High and Selling Low

Let's say you have a 40/1 price on an outside contender for this year's Epsom Derby. He had a solid two-year-old campaign and won a Grade 2 Stakes race but hasn't run yet as a three-year-old.

Your horse is being pointed at the 2000 Guineas (which runs a month before the Derby) and carries a 10/1 price for a win in that race – it looks like he's in the mix for a win.

Most Guineas winners go on to contest the Epsom Derby if connections feel they can navigate further than 1m, so your ante post wager looks logical so far.

Did the sire or any half-brothers of your selection win or run well in the Epsom Derby or at the 1m2f distance? If so, your ante post wager looks especially good.

Throw in some confirmation through a news source that connections plan a Guineas-to-Derby campaign for your selection and it looks like you've got a very hot ante post betting opportunity with a nice balance of risk and reward.

The reason why your ante post wager is a decent one is because your selection is considered a contender for a credible performance in the 2000 Guineas and if he performs to expectations and comes out of the race safely, then his Derby price will shorten considerably.

A third-place performance in the 2000 Guineas at 10/1 would likely see him come out of the gate at around the same price for the Derby unless somebody won the Guineas by a substantial margin.

A win in the 2000 Guineas would see your selection go off at around 5/1 for the Derby, even shorter if he won well in the Guineas, and you've still got him locked in at 40/1.

Many exchange punters will be seeking to back a horse just before they expect it to take a substantial drop in price and then lay the horse at that lower price. However, that requires a whole other approach that will discussed in a later article.

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