First Past The Post In Horse Racing

St Leger Festival

What does first past the post mean in horse racing?

First past the post is a popular term you will need to be aware of in horse racing betting. This is simply the name of a promotion that is set by the bookmakers where they payout on the horse which finishes first, regardless of what happens to that horse.

For example, if there is a situation where the horse crosses the line first but is then demoted to second as the horse interfered with the other following a stewards’ enquiry, with the horse which finished second being awarded the winner, the bookmakers will still have to pay out on the official winner, which is where the ‘first past the post’ comes into play.

Which bookmakers offer first past the post bets?

Bookmakers will offer different features, markets, offers and so on. With this in mind, you’re not going to come across every horse racing bookmaker that the first past the post bets. It is very important that you check with the bookie themselves and read their terms and conditions to avoid any confusion on whether or not you can back the first past the post-market. Betfair, Paddy Power, William Hill and Bet365 are a select few of the leading bookmakers who offer the first past the past bets and double results. Ultimately, just check with the bookmaker first, which you can do by reading the rules or their website, or just get on live chat.

Commonly, you won’t find bookmakers who do this in person and it is more of an online feature, which is also quite common in horse racing gambling. So, do note this for when you’re considering backing this market.

Do on course bookmakers pay first past the post?

As mentioned above, this is not so common as on-course horse racing betting is a little different to doing so easily online where it is you against the bookie. Some on course bookmakers will do so, but they must wait until it’s officially announced.

Ultimately, this is more of an online feature, so do check with the on-course bookies first.

When does first past the post not apply?

Disqualification will be ok in the first past the post market, but if your horse is disqualified for a few reasons, the first past the post won’t apply. For example, if the jockey weighed in carrying less weight than what they were supposed to be, first past the post won’t matter. Another one is when a horse is disqualified for taking the wrong course and in antepost bets, while if the race is declared void, nobody would have theoretically passed the post, so this also won’t count.

Other bookmakers may also add more into this list, but this is dependent on them entirely and you will need to check with the bookmaker themselves.

What bet types can I expect first past the post to apply to?

First past the post bets can apply to a few bet types: forecasts, tricasts, RequestABets, enhanced accumulators, specials, derived markets and in-running horse racing.

As has been the tone of voice throughout this guide, do always check with the bookmaker to see where first past the post bets apply.

First past the post example

If you are backing a horse to win the race and they end up doing so, you would win the first past the post market, regardless of the further outcomes. For example, your horse finishes first but a stewards’ enquiry later demoted the horse to second due to an irritation in first, as the horse interfered with the horse who finishes second. This interference, according to the stewards’ inquiry, would have meant the horse finishing second would have won. Now, your horse that passed the post first now goes down officially as second, but it doesn’t matter for you as you backed the first past the post margin and your horse did so.

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