Rule 4 Deductions Explained

Rule 4 Deductions Explained


A rule 4 deduction is something that you will come across while gambling if you bet on horse racing. No other sport uses the rule 4 deduction, they don’t need to because if a team or competitor cannot play, the game would not take place. However, that isn’t the case with a horse race, with non-runners happening on a daily basis which could give you a rule 4 on the bet you place.

When does a Rule 4 Deduction occur?

A rule 4 deduction will be placed on your bet if a non-runner is declared in the race after you've bet. The other stipulation is that the horse which is a non-runner must be priced up at 14/1 or lower, if the horse is a bigger price than 14/1, no deduction is made.

The timing of your bet and the timing of the non-runner is key. If the non-runner happens just before the off, the rule 4 will apply to every bet placed. However, if it is declared in the morning, at 11am for example, only bets placed before 11am will have a rule 4 deduction. Those placed afterwards will be done so on the new betting market, which takes into account the non-runner and lowers the prices accordingly.

Why does a Rule 4 Deduction happen?

A rule 4 happens to balance the book for bookmakers. They create their betting odds based on a full field taking part, and each horse has a chance of winning which is relative to the others.

The favourite in a race has the most chance of winning, but if that horse doesn’t run, then every other runner in the field will have a better chance of winning, and therefore will need to be a lower price.

The shorter the price on the non-runner, the bigger chance others have of winning when it is withdrawn from the race, so the larger the deductions will be. If the non-runner is something priced up at low double figures, the deduction will be much smaller.

On most occasions you will find that the rule 4 deduction you have is roughly the same as the new price that has been created after the non-runner is known. However, there will be times when betting with a rule 4 works in your favour compared to the new odds, and also times when it doesn’t.

How much is deducted from my winnings with a Rule 4?

The amount deducted from your bet is all based upon the price of the non-runner at the time of withdrawal. It is important to note that if this happens in a morning, different bookmakers will have different odds so the rule 4 deductions may differ.

Here is a table showing the amount of money you lose in each £1 of profit depending on the price of the non-runner. Towards the end of the table, you will see a 5p deduction, it is worth checking with your bookmaker about these, as some bookmakers no longer take off the 5p deduction and they work from 10p onwards.

Odds of Withdrawn HorseRule 4 Deduction
1/9 or shorter90p in £1
2/11 to 2/1785p in £1
1/4 to 1/580p in £1
3/10 to 2/775p in £1
2/5 to 1/370p in £1
8/15 to 4/965p in £1
8/13 to 4/760p in £1
4/5 to 4/655p in £1
20/21 to 5/650p in £1
Evens to 6/545p in £1
5/4 to 6/440p in £1
8/5 to 7/435p in £1
9/5 to 9/430p in £1
12/5 to 3/125p in £1
16/5 to 4/120p in £1
9/2 to 11/215p in £1
6/1 to 9/110p in £1
10/1 to 14/15p in £1
Over 14/1No deduction


You might also be interested in:

How to read the Racing Form

What is "Best Odds Guaranteed" and why you should ALWAYS take it!

How to calculate Horse Racing margins

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