Ante post betting: is it still worthwhile?

With Cheltenham just two months away, Tipstrr racing analyst Andrew of Fiosrach weighs up the pros and cons of ante post betting and examines whether it is still a worthwhile and profitable exercise.

Fiosrach is run by multi-award winning tipster Andrew, who was the founder and main tipster at Cleeve Racing. Profits were made in every season when Andrew was tipping at Cleeve and he was admitted into the Secret Betting Club Hall of Fame in 2019.

You can access Fiosrach selections at a trial price for the rest of January 2023 by visiting his Tipstrr page here .

Ante post betting has given me many thrills and a few spills over the years, but in my view ante post betting (where you place a bet usually well before the event and risk losing your stake should your selection not make the starting line-up) has become less viable as the years go on.

I used to have an annual ante post bet on the flat classics (The Derby, 1000 and 2000 Guineas, The Oaks and the St. Leger) and had some notable successes, the first of which was Slip Anchor winning the Derby in 1985.

Having originally backed Slip Anchor in October 1984 at 40/1, I continued to back him throughout the winter and even backed him at 9/4 on the day. He promptly won at a canter under Steve Cauthen by one of the longest winning distances ever in the Derby (seven lengths).

I also had near misses with Dancing Brave (backed at 40/1 and a fast-finishing runner-up) and with Dubai Millennium, backed at 25/1 and finishing ninth after getting wound up in the pre-race parade.

Nowadays it is increasingly difficult to select even a single horse, when the large stables may have entries numbering in double figures, with no certainty around which of these will contest the race.

Restrictive bookmaker practices also inhibit ante post betting - I requested £50 each way on a selection in the 2000 Guineas prior to Christmas and was offered the odds to £1.87 each way!

It is surely about time that legislation was brought in to ensure that bookmakers must stand any bet to anyone up to a liability of £500 or £1000 - a few of the same UK bookmakers have to do this in Australia, so why not here?

Over the jumps, I have also had some notable successes in the Gold Cup ante post markets, with Master Oats at 40/1 (SP 100/30), and Best Mate winning his first of three back-to-back Gold Cups, also at 40/1 (SP 7/1).

This has again been impacted by bookmakers' reluctance to stand a bet, plus that tendency for several trainers/owners to include multiple entries in these big races.

I have tried to counter this over the last couple of years with a small multiple bet in the form of a Lucky 15 and have managed to get the bet on at least.

Last year I had Bob Ollinger at 11/4 (lucky to win when the favourite fell), Allaho (a 7/2 winner), Sir Gerhard at 5/1 (switched race so a loser, but won his other race) and A Plus Tard, which won the Gold Cup by a distance at 10/1 (SP 3/1F).

This netted a decent return in the £000's and I have repeated the process this year with Energumene at 9/4, Flooring Porter at 5/1, Gaillard Du Mesnil at 7/2 and A Plus Tard at 8/1, so fingers crossed that each will at least make it to post!

The novice chases are even more difficult to have an ante post selection, with Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott having more than 40% of all entries, and most horses having multiple race entries to boot.

Perhaps multiple bets on the Grade 1 races is the way to go, but until restrictions are lifted on bets or restrictions are put in place on the number of entries per stable, then I think ante post markets are too difficult to play these days.

Andrew provides horse racing tips as Fiosrach on the Tipstrr platform

Latest news