Place a matched bet on a qualifying race and if your horse comes second you will trigger a refund of your bet. With this reload your horse can come 2nd to any horse in the field. Don’t confuse this with the 2nd Place to SP Favourite Reload, or Refund if Your Horse Loses to the Favourite Reload where your horse must finish to the horse that starts the race as favourite.

With these bonuses, you only trigger the refund if your horse comes 2nd. You will normally take a qualifying loss on this bet, but if done correctly and on the right horse, you will hit the refunds frequently enough to make consistent profits.

Let’s take an example. If you bet on a horse that is at odds of 5.0 (4/1) this horse has roughly a 20% chance of winning. If you simply bet it £25 you could win 4X your stake and get your £25 stake back if the horse comes in 2nd. It’s OK, but there is an 80% chance that your horse won’t win, and depending on the field (how many runners there are and the odds) perhaps a 20% chance of coming 2nd.

But if you find a good match on a horse at odds of 5.0, and you manage to lose just £0.50 getting your qualifying bet on, you have a 20% chance of getting a £25 free bet for just a £0.50 qualifying loss. This means that for every 5 bets you put on, you would expect to hit the £25 free bet, meaning it’s cost you £2.50 to get a £25 free bet.

Now of course the more of these bets you put on the more that the variance comes to fruition. You may hit a few refunds in a row, but you might go a few without hitting one, but in the end it balances itself out.

How to Maximise Your Chances of Hitting 2nd Place Refunds

Step 1 - Pick Lower Odds Horses

A horse at odds of 4.0 has a far better chance of coming second than a horse at odds of 20.0. Even if the horse at odds of 20.0 will bring you a loss of £0.50, it only has a 5% chance of winning, and perhaps a similar (or very slightly higher) chance of coming 2nd. You would need to match this horse 20X to hit a refund, so that would cost you £10. Conversely a horse rated at 4.0 with a £1.00 qualifying loss and it has a 25% chance of winning and similar for coming 2nd. So you would lose £4.00 on average to hit a 2nd Place refund.

Step 2 - Pick Smaller fields

If you ignored the odds completely (which you shouldn’t), picking a horse in a race with 5 horses in has a 20% chance of coming second, whereas a race with 10 horse in as only a 10% chance of coming 2nd. Obviously this doesn’t take into account the odds of the horse and therefore likelihood of winning, but it should be a factor in how much you are prepared to lose on the qualifying bet. You should be prepared to lose more per bet on smaller fields. Also be aware that most races have a minimum number of runners required to trigger the reload. Normally the races will qualify (or the bookmakers wouldn’t promote them), but if there are non runners this can affect whether or not you will get the bonus. So always check before you place your bets. If you get non runners after you place your bet, you won’t get the bonus if it goes on to place second. There isn’t much we can do about that, but it’s a pretty rare occurrence

Step 3 - Check for strong favourites and second favourites

If there is a race with a very strong favourite and you can get a close match, it’s nearly always worth a shot. They come second more than you think. On a horse priced at 2.0 (Evens) I’d probably be willing to lose £2.50 on a 10 field race (maybe even more) at £25 per bet. The same goes if there is a 2nd favourite and a load of other much longer priced horses. You get a feel for it after doing a few. Do check that there aren’t minimum odds restrictions when picking favourites.

Step 4 - Don’t pick high odds Arbs

These are qualifying bets that make you a profit whether your horse wins or loses. They occur when the odds at the exchange are lower than at the bookmakers. Do too many of these and your account will get limited quickly. It’s more tolerable with lower priced horses (as more ordinary punters will be backing these), but don’t hit them with every bet. Sometimes a guaranteed profit on your qualifying bet where the horse is around 4.0 is just too good to turn down. Conversely a £1.50 profit on a 30-1 shot is not worth taking as it has such a small chance of coming second, and that’s what we are ultimately aiming for.

Step 5 - Pick multiple horses in the same race with different bookmakers

This applies more to Saturday racing and big festivals like Cheltenham where a lot of the bookmakers are offering 2nd place refunds on the same race. By doing this you can cover more of the field and combine your liability in the exchange. What does combining liability mean? If you lay 2 horses in the same race, only one of them can win, so betfair alters the amount of exposure that is tied up for that race. It will be the horse that has the highest odds and therefore liability. This means more capital is free to place more lay bets.

Example Historic Offers:

Sky Bet

First Race Special - Money back as a free bet if your horse finisehd 2nd. 14:20 Wolverhampton

William Hill

Money back if your horse finished 2nd

Sporting Bet

Money back 2nd place - 15:25 Newbury


Money Back 2nd - 14:15 Newbury


Greatwood Hurdle money back if 2nd - Newbury 14:50