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One of the most popular horse racing promotions at present is the money back if 2nd promotion. Whenever you back a horse to win but it finishes second the bookie will refund you your steak in the form of a free bet (so if we put £20 on a horse which finishes 2nd we will be given a £20 free bet).

It is important to note that this offer isn’t a guaranteed profit offer and we will take a small qualifying loss each time we do it! As long as we keep our qualifying losses low and keep hitting these offers regularly we will almost certainly make profit in the long run (long term these are actually very profitable offers!).

Some (less generous) bookies will do variations of the money back if 2nd offer to limit what they pay out in free bets. These are still profitable in the long run but we must only do them with minimal qualifying losses, these include:

  • If your horse finishes 2nd to the SP (starting Price) favorite.
  • If you horse finishes 2nd by 1 length or less.
  • If you horse finishes 2nd by 1 head or less.
  • If you horse falls or the jockey is unseated.

Occasionally, usually only at big meetings the bookies will come out with more generous variations of this offer to get you betting with them for the day. With these we can afford to take slightly bigger qualifying losses, these include:

  • If your horse finishes 2nd, 3rd or 4th.
  • If you horse doesn’t win (which can be made into a guaranteed profit offer).

Below we will look at an worked through example of this offer.

Worked Through Example

In this example we will look at the “Beaten by a Length” offer from Coral. This is one of the better horse racing refund offers and allows us to get up to £25 back if our horse finishes 2nd by 1 length or less. We will be using the OddsMatcher tool from OddsMonkey to find good matches, you can get a free trial of OddsMonkey by clicking here if needs be.

Step 1

Find the 13:55 race at Sandown in the OddsMatcher tool and look for a good match. Typically when doing 2nd place refund offers I look for ratings of 90% plus.

Step 2

We can see “Elucidation” looks like a good match with a rating of 91.46 and has reasonable odds of 6.5. “High Acclaim” has a slightly higher rating of 91.65 however I would advise you avoid horses with odds over about 15 for this kind of offer (it will likely get your account noticed by the bookie and will require a much higher float at the exchange). Click on the “i” icon on the OddsMatcher tool to open the matched betting calculator.

NB – The odds don’t really matter too much but bear in mind horses with lower odds will generally be more likely to finish 2nd than those with higher odds, also as mentioned above if laying off horses with higher odds we would also need more money at the exchange to cover the liability! I usually stick to horses with odds of up to 15 max!

Step 3

The offer allows us to do up to £25 however, for the purpose of this example we will work with a nice and easy £10 stake. So now we go to the bookies and place our back bet!

Step 4

Next we go to the exchange and lay off our bet with the amount found in the calculator (again, we can follow the link to Betfair in the calculator to get there).

Our bet slip turns pink to remind us we are laying the selection (remember we can both back and lay at the exchange so be careful if you are new to this!).

Step 5

Once the two bets are placed we can relax and watch the race. We will incur approximately the same qualifying loss regardless of what position our horse finishes in. If our horse finishes 2nd by 1 length or less we will receive a £10 free bet. The free bet can then be used on any horse race and with the help of the calculator in the free bet mode we will receive approx £8 cash!

Step 6

If we don’t get the free bet we simply take a small qualifying loss and move on to the next race. The trick to making these offers work is to keep doing as many as is possible. You will get good and bad runs but I have found they always even out and are definitely one of the most profitable re-load offers you can spend your time doing!


  • With these kind of offers it is important to keep the qualifying losses to a minimum, I typically would advise no more than about 10% of your stake (although aim for even less if doing one of the less generous variations such as “2nd to the SP favorite”).
  • It is important to note that these offers are usually only available on certain races / meetings and not on every race! in this case it is any race which is broadcast live on ITV!
  • Since there is no guaranteed profit here we might experience up’s and down’s with these types of offers. For example you might go for a few days without hitting a free bet then suddenly hit 3 or 4 in one afternoon. Just keep the qualifying losses low and keep doing the offer and everything will even out.
  • Sometimes when our horse wins the race we will get “Best Odds Guaranteed” and still make a profit. This happens when the starting price is higher than the price we backed the horse at and the bookie pays out at the higher price. Not all bookies do this but it’s a nice bonus when it does happen!
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