James Given to quit training and take up BHA role

Handler will be new director of equine health and welfare from January.

  • Friday 30 October
  • News
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James Given will retire from training early next year to take up the role as director of equine health and welfare with the British Horseracing Authority.

Given, who has also been a qualified vet since 1990, began his racing carer as assistant to Mark Johnston in 1995, before starting training in his own right in 1998.

His big-race winners include the popular Hugs Dancer, who claimed the 2002 Ebor and the 2003 Chester Cup. He went on to be beaten less than three lengths in the 2003 Caulfield Cup before finishing ninth in that year’s Melbourne Cup.

More recently Given has enjoyed Group-race success with Trick Or Treat, Lady Gloria, Indian Days and Dandino.

He is also a long-standing member of the BHA’s ethics committee, a trustee of the British Racing School and has been a member of the industry’s Horse Welfare Board since its inception in early 2019.

Given said: “I am delighted to be joining the BHA and welcome the opportunity to strive for ever improving welfare standards for racehorses.

“The current standards are world leading, but there is no time to rest on our laurels in a world demanding greater accountability. I look forward to working with colleagues across the industry, to show that racing is a compassionate sport that puts the welfare of horses at the centre of all we do. I know I am joining a team that shares and represents these ideals.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a trainer and am eternally grateful to all the people who have helped me along this journey – to the owners, many who have become friends, and the outstanding people who have been part of my team, over many years of hard work.

“I am also grateful to all the horses, fast and slow, willing and less so, that it has been a privilege and a pleasure to look after.”

Given will join the BHA in January 2021 and will formally stop training and hand in his trainers’ licence upon starting his new role.

Brant Dunshea, chief regulatory officer for the BHA, said: “We are extremely excited to welcome James to this role. He brings with him not only extensive clinical experience as a veterinarian, but also first-hand experience of training racehorses at the highest level.

“He has already been integral to the development of the industry’s welfare strategy through his involvement on the Horse Welfare Board, this will complement the equally important regulatory requirements of the role.

“We are delighted that James will be able to continue the excellent work of David Sykes, who has made significant progress in his time at the BHA in modernising the equine health and welfare department and improving the quality of life of our horses. We are grateful to David for everything he has done on behalf of the sport.”

James Given to quit training and take up BHA role
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