Rule 4 Deductions Explained

For newcomers, the rules and terminology in horse racing can sometimes overwhelm people, for example, rule 4 deductions. What is a rule 4 deduction? This is a question that we get asked all the time, as do most bookmakers. So today we’re going to explain in simple terms exactly what rule 4 is and how it can affect you when placing a bet on horse racing.

What is a rule 4 deduction?

The correct name for this rule is the Tattersalls rule of racing, this is an industry-wide rule that is implemented to help compensate in case of any late withdrawals from horse races. When you think about this rule logically, it makes perfect sense to have a rule of this kind in place. Let’s give you an example of why rule 4 deductions are made and why it makes sense to have the rule in place.

Example – You have made a selection and placed a bet on a horse that is due to race at Cheltenham racecourse at 5:35 pm. In that race, there are 4 horses due to run, but due to unforeseen circumstances, one of them has to withdraw from the race leaving only 3 horses. This means the chances of your selection winning have been increased, which goes without saying. Now, due to the Tattersalls rule of racing, deductions have to be made to any winnings in order to make it fair to the bookmakers and also to reflect the odds which have been slashed due to a late withdrawal from the race.

Rule 4 Deductions Explained

To give you an idea of the deduction implications for any future bets you might place on the horse racing, we have displayed an image below. This gives you the breakdown of deductions made due to the rule 4 deductions ruling. The odds shown in the left column reflects that of the horse withdrawn from the race. The shorter the odds, the greater the chance it had to win the race. Therefore, the deduction will be greater.

Table Displaying Deductions

Horse Racing might seem complicated due to all the different elements that come with betting but once you gain a clear understanding of what it all means, you can enjoy your experience even more.

Rule 4 Deductions – Why are they made?

This takes place when a horse withdraws from a race as it makes it easier for other runners to finish in first place, simply because there are fewer runners. What this means is that a certain amount of money is taken from the winnings in order to make up for the withdrawn horse.

If rule 4 deductions were not implemented by bookmakers then it could make it possible for people to back all of the horses running in one race which would mean they would make money on the horse that wins.

As an example of this, if we have three horses all racing with Horse 1 being the favourite at 1/3  while horse 2 is 3/1 and horse 3 is 12/1. So, if horse 1 withdraws from the race and no deductions are made to the price of both horses 2 and 3, if you placed a £1 bet on horse 2 and horse 3, you would win more than the £2 stake you made, regardless of which horse wins. If horse 2 finishes first, you would win £4 and if horse 3 wins, you would win £13. Therefore, Rule 4 deductions are implemented in order to take into account the additional advantage that a customer has should a horse withdraw.

How Much Are The Deductions?

The amount that is taken from your winnings will be determined by how likely the withdrawn horse or horses were likely to win the race. So, if the favourite horse withdraws then this will make it likely that the second favourite will come in first. However, if an outsider is removed from the race, then it is still going to be challenging for the second favourite to win. See the chart above. 

To work out the amount that is taken, it is based on the last price of the withdrawal selection at the time the bet was placed. This is down to the fact that the price is related to its chances of winning. If the price is shorter, then it has more of a chance of winning and as a result, the Rule 4 deduction will be larger.

Hopefully, this explanation has helped clear up any questions you might have had on the subject of rule 4 deductions?

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