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James Given quitting training to take up lead BHA role in equine welfare

James Given: set to relinquish his trainer's licence in 2021 to join BHA
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James Given has been appointed the new BHA director of equine health and welfare and is set to wind down his training operation before taking up the role in 2021.

A qualified vet and former assistant to Mark Johnston, Given has held a trainer's licence since 1998 during which time he has enjoyed notable successes with the likes of Dandino, Indian Days, Hugs Dancer, Summitville and Wunders Dream.

Given will take over from David Sykes, who is returning home to Australia, and has a long-standing relationship with the BHA as a member of the Ethics Committee as well as being a member of the Horse Welfare Board.

He said: "I'm 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'm 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."

Dandino: won the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot and Jockey Club Stakes for James Given

An exact starting date for Given has not been formalised but the BHA said it was "extremely excited" by his forthcoming arrival.

Brant Dunshea, BHA chief regulatory officer, 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. 

"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."

Trainer James Given's career details

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I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a trainer and am eternally grateful to all the people who have helped me along this journey

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James Given
E.W. Terms