Tuesday 12 November 2019

James Given Talks Racing And Meeting The Queen

Based in the village of Willoughton in Lincolnshire since April 1999, James Given has some great winners to his name including Wunders Dream who was a stable star in her own right. Wunders Dream went on to win the Molecomb Stakes and the Flying Childers in what was a great 2-year-old career. Hugs Dancer another stable star who won the Ebor Handicap and the following year won the Chester Cup. The list of big winners James has had goes on and on. It wasn't just in England as James travelled far and wide for success and Jessica’s Dream was the filly to do it with Group 3 wins in Ireland and Italy. 

James, have you always been involved in horse racing? 

No, I started working in racing when I went to work for Mark Johnston as his resident Vet and Assistant in Feb 1995.

If you weren’t a trainer what would you have done? 

Well, I worked as a Vet before and during my time working in racing so that’s what I would have continued with. 

What keeps you motivated on those cold winter mornings to keep going? 

The next winner and seeing how the yearlings are developing. 

If you could train any horse in history who would it be and why? 

Frankel. He is the best horse that has ever raced and the challenges that Sir Henry Cecil overcame to guide the horse through his spectacular career and all the problems I would relish trying to emulate. 

Do you have a favourite horse in the yard? 

The good ones are always favourites, but currently, the lowish rated Blyton Lass has just got her hat trick up and has won 5 races in total, so far. She is such a trier and any horse who tries as hard as her is always a favourite. 

What's been the highlight of your career so far? 

Not a result of a race but having lunch at Windsor Castle and sitting next to the Queen, a remarkable woman and an extraordinary experience. 

A typical day in the life of James Given? 

No 2 days are ever the same, however, the yard starts at 7.00am, getting 3 lots out, a coffee break, 2 more lots out, doing entries and declarations during this time and usually quite a number of phone calls to owners updating them and discussing plans. Grab a sandwich and set off to the races. Hopefully celebrating a good run then home, catching up on the evening stables report and doing the list for tomorrow. Increasingly there is more racing in the evening so either attending this or discussing the race on the phone with the owners. And finally, to bed before it all starts again tomorrow! 

What do you do to relax when you finally get the time? 

Golf and cooking. 

If you could win any race before you retired, what would it be? 

The Melbourne Cup. 

Any dark horses for the All-weather that my readers can follow? 

She is not a dark horse but I don’t think she has finished winning yet, Blyton Lass. 

A big thank you to James Given for answering questions for my blog and good luck for the future.

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