What is a Final Declaration?
In horse racing, the final declaration is an official notice that an entrant will take part in a race. These declarations are made on the day of the race, after which the runners for the event are (usually) fixed in place. For gamblers, the final declarations affect two matters: whether a bet is classed as ‘ante-post’, and whether deductions will be made against a bet to account for non-runners.
Final Declaration Explained
In a horse or dog race, the entry list for an event is subject to change right up until the start of the race. On the day a horse will race, its trainer must make a declaration of entry and the racing authority must also accept that entry. At this point, the betting markets can safely assume that a declared horse will run. Of course, there is still a chance that any racing animal could pull up before the race starts and have to be withdrawn.
Gamblers might bet on an animal before or after these final declarations are made. If a bettor gambles before a horse is confirmed, they may well get a favorable price but they take a big risk on that entrant becoming a non-runner. This kind of bet is known as an ‘ante-post‘ bet. If the selection does not end up entering, the bet is usually lost outright.
If a bettor makes a wage after the final declarations, a betting rule comes into play to protect bookmakers against sudden withdrawals from a confirmed line-up. Rule 4 states that bookmakers can deduct a percentage from the bet price on a win when a strong favorite withdraws from a race after the declarations.
This is because a longer price on a mid-level entrant could shorten dramatically when a sure winner withdraws unexpectedly.