Jollies and rags betting

In horse racing, jollies and rags is a betting market in which you bet on the winner coming either from one of the race favourites or from the rest of the field.

jollies and ragsbettingTypically the favourites, or “jollies”, in jollies and rags betting include from one to three horses. The “rags”, or outsiders, include all the remaining horses. Similar markets that pit a favourite against the field are also offered for other sports, such as golf, grand prix racing and tennis.

Example of jollies and rags betting

A jollies and rags market is offered on a daily race at Newbury. Odds of 11/10 are offered on the race favourite, and a price of 8/15 is offered on the field, meaning all horses other than the favourite. If you think an upset – a win by an outsider – is likely, you’d back the field. If the favourite wins, the stake you bet will be forfeit. If any other horse wins, your bet will pay out at 8/15.

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When to bet on jollies and rags

Betting on jollies and rags is a low-risk betting option, so payouts tend to be low too. Generally if a solid favourite has been established for a race, you’ll be better off betting on the win market. Also, if you’re thinking of backing the favourite, betting each-way in the race winner market may provide superior returns to betting in the jollies and rags market.

However, there are times when jollies and rags bets become a better option:

  • handicap races are a useful option for jollies and rags races, as wins by the antepost favourites are the exception rather than the norm
  • for races prone to upsets and long-shot wins; do your research and, if you detect a trend like this, go for a bet on the field – this is easier and safer than trying to figure out which long shot is going to have the run of a lifetime on the day
  • races in which several horses outside the favourites look like they have the potential to win, and you want to back them all with a single bet.

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