Typically 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.
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.