Non Runner Betting Term Meaning

Non-runners are commonplace in the world of horse racing. Every single day horses are withdrawn from races for a variety of reasons. Here’s everything you need to know.

The betting term ‘non-runner’ refers to a horse that’s named to take part in a race and is later withdrawn. This might happen the day before a race is scheduled or even on the morning of the event.

This is an example of what a non-runner horse would look like on a racecard:

1 Robbing The Prey 1.61
2 Highland Bobby 2.75
3 Honorary Gift 13.00
4 Oldtimer 17.00
5 Get Help 34.00
6 Rapid Fritz N/R

If the N/R symbol is displayed beside a horses name, it means it’s a non-runner. If you’ve already placed a wager on the horse which has been withdrawn your bet will usually be void and your stake will be returned in full. 

We say ‘usually’, different bookmakers have their own rules, especially online if punters are using free bets or some other promo offer. Our advice is to always check the terms and conditions beforehand so you know where you stand.

What Causes a Horse to be Withdrawn?

There are plenty of factors which could cause a trainer to withdraw a horse from a race. Among the most common are:


If you’re familiar with horse racing you’ll know that the ground (going) is vital to a horse’s performance. The going will change depending on how wet the ground is. 

Therefore, if a horse is better suited to firm ground, the trainer might withdraw it if the going is soft. The reason being that the horse probably won’t perform well and the yard doesn’t see the point of taking a risk.


Due to the nature of the sport, horses often pick up injuries. This means that if a horse has a strain or damages its ligaments, it’ll be withdrawn from the race. 

If it is the regular jockey who gets injured, a replacement will usually be drafted in to allow the horse to run. When this happens price fluctuations are common.

How will a non-runner affect your bet?

If a horse is declared a non-runner long before the race begins your bets won’t be affected in any way. However, if a horse withdraws from a race when it’s in the stalls or at the starting post, a rule 4 deduction will be applied to all bets.

The amount that’s deducted will depend on how likely the horse was to win the race. For instance, you can expect a higher deduction for an odds on favourite compared to a 100/1 outsider.

Non Runner FAQ

What is a Non Runner?

A Non Runner is a term used in horse racing to describe a horse that is withdrawn from a race.