What Is A Rule 4 Deduction

What Is A Rule 4 Deduction?

When betting on horse racing events in the UK & Ireland you may hear the term “A rule 4 will apply” but What Is A Rule 4 Deduction?

ANSWER – A rule 4 deduction is an amount, usually pence in the pound on all winning bets on a horse racing event. This occurs when a horse is withdrawn before the off, meaning that the market needs to be reformed for the bookmaker to pay out a refund to those who backed the withdrawn horse.

Below is an example of how much pence in the pound will be taken if a horse is withdrawn, it varies on the price and this is because the shorter the odds the more money will have been placed on that horse which needs to be refunded.

OddsDeduction (pence in the £)
1/9 or shorter90p
2/11 to 2/1785p
1/4 to 1/580p
3/10 to 2/775p
2/5 to 1/370p
8/15 to 4/965p
8/13 to 4/760p
4/5 to 4/655p
20/21 to 5/650p
Evens (1/1) to 6/545p
5/4 to 6/440p
13/8 to 7/435p
15/8 to 9/430p
5/2 to 3/125p
10/3 to 4/120p
9/2 to 11/215p
6/1 to 9/1+10p

With the above information, you can see the shorter the horse odds the bigger the rule 4 deduction that will apply.

What is the maximum Rule 4 deduction?

If two or more horses are withdrawn from a race, Rule 4 states the maximum deduction is 90p per £1 or a 90% deduction.

What happens if more than one horse is withdrawn from a race?

More than one Rule 4 deduction can apply if more than one horse is withdrawn from a race. For races where more than one horse is withdrawn, the deduction will not be larger than 90p per £1.

What happens with withdrawals in reformed markets?

In the case of withdrawals in reformed markets, the total deduction over the two or more horses (i.e. one in the original and one in the reformed market) will be calculated on the prices in the original market. As an example;

You have bet on Horse A @5/1 at 3 pm at Ascot. There are only 4 runners in this particular race and later on in the day, Horse B unfortunately has to withdraw from the race. Horse C then refuses to go into the stalls so is also withdrawn from the race

Horse B was withdrawn at 10 am. At the time it was withdrawn, it was 7/4, and Horse C was 6/1 (before the race was revised). This means that all bets placed on any horse before 10 am when Horse B was withdrawn are subject to a 45p Rule 4. This is made up of 35p for Horse B (7/4) and 10p for Horse C (6/1).

Horse C was withdrawn at 3 pm, was 5/2 at the time and the market reformed at that point. All bets placed after the first Non-Runner at 10 am and before 3 pm are subject to a 25p rule 4.

All bets placed after the market was reformed again due to the non-runner at 3 pm will not be subject to any deduction.

Best Odds Guaranteed And Rule 4 Deductions

If you take a price that is then subject to a Rule 4 deduction, the deduction will be applied unless the horse returns at a bigger SP. If this is the case the bet will return at the SP  price without a Rule 4 deduction (unless the SP also has a Rule 4 applied as mentioned in the point above).


Rule 4 deductions can be annoying but they are a necessary evil if you want to get your stake refunded when your horse is the one that gets withdrawn.

Backing a horse at higher odds is the best way to avoid huge rule 4 deductions this is because once you get todds higher than 6/1 deductions are 10p in the pound on winnings.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to check out our bet types guide if you are new to betting.

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