Trainer in Focus – James Given


James Given is a useful trainer who operates out of Lincolnshire. He has a good number of runners each season and knows the time of day when it comes to the betting ring. In this article we take a look at Given’s runners through the different age groups.

2 Year Olds

Given has a modest overall strike rate with his 2 year old debutants, although they do win slightly more often than they should do based on odds; 8/188 (4.26%) for a loss of £-86.50, producing an A/E of 1.12. Breaking that down by month, a clear pattern emerges:

2 Year Old Debutants By Month

2 year

*A/E denotes actual number of winners divided by expected number of winners. A figure over 1 represents good value, anything under 1 is poor value.

His juvenile debutants do much better at the start of the season. They are 6/35 (17.14%) for £16.50 LSP, A/E 2.26 in March-May. However from June onwards, his horses do very poorly when seeing the racecourse for the first time; 2/153 (1.31%) for loss of £-103. A/E 0.44

Second time up they don’t have a great record in terms of win percentage – 10/159 (6.29%) for a loss of £-44.82, but the A/E is just marginally below 1.

Horses usually qualify for nurseries (handicaps for 2 year olds) after 3 runs. Given’s horses who ran have had 3 runs, competed in a maiden last time out and did not win and are switching to nursery company within 4 weeks do well; 5/26 (19.23%) for £27.50 LSP, giving an A/E of 1.89. He likes to get them switched over quickly. When off for over 4 weeks, they are just 1/28.

3 Year Olds

Givens 3 year old debutants are few and far between with just 2 winners from 52 runners in the last 10 years.

His second time out 3 year olds are 5/63 (7.94%) overall, giving a loss of £-20.50 and an A/E of 2.72. When they are fancied in the betting (10/1 or shorter), the results are superb; 4/9 (44.44%) with a further 2 places for £21.50 LSP, giving an A/E of 4.23

Horses typically obtain an official handicap rating after 3 runs. Many trainers give their horses 3 ‘quiet’ runs to get them well handicapped and then strike on their first foray into handicap company. Given is not one of them. His record with his thrice race maiden to handicap switchers is 5/105 (4.76%) for loss of £-59, giving an A/E of 0.90.

3 Year Old+ Handicappers Did Not Win LTO

3 year old+

Those horses who are turned out within 7 days do very well, winning at the highest percentage, producing a profit and a very positive A/E in the process. Given’s handicappers generally do not underperform market expectations at any time apart from when off for 29-42 days.

Those handicappers that did win last time out also do better off shorter breaks:

3 Year Old+ Handicappers Won LTO

3 Year Old+ Handicappers Won LTO

Horses backing up their last victory by returning within 7 days do fantastically, winning at a 34.38% rate. Those runners off for more than 6 weeks are just 1/18 when trying to follow up, giving a loss of £-12 and an A/E of 0.55


Training out of Lincolnshire, it comes as no surprise that Given has a lot of runners in the North. His record is mixed, doing very well at some venues and just moderately at others;


He does especially well at Pontefract, Thirsk and Beverley, but has struggled at Carlisle, Ripon, Catterick and Haydock. Given has had great success in handicap company on the all-weather at Kempton on his trips to the South, and should always be respected at the venue.


Some trainers exhibit a bias in performance based on the sex of their runners. Boys and girls can behave very differently, as can those males who have had their crown jewels removed.


Colts and fillies in 3 year old+ handicaps do poorest. Geldings have the best strike rate and produce a positive A/E (of those horses to have enough runs to produce a reliable sample size). Older females (mares) also do quite well.

Given does particularly well with his 5-7 year olds, so it comes as no surprise that the geldings and mares do well.


James Given has a higher strike rate and better returns with his all-weather runners than on turf, but is there a bias based on which month they are running in?

all weather

His runners over all age categories produce positive A/E’s in most months with the exception of September (where they do terribly for some reason) and November where performance is a little below average. His runners in the late Spring/Summer months do great (May-August); 36/212 (16.98%) for £96.46 LSP giving an A/E of 1.56


  • Given’s 2 year old debutants have a modest strike rate but win marginally more often than odds entitle them to.
  • They do much better in the early part of the season and can pretty much be disregarded from June onwards.
  • His second time out 2 year olds again have a moderate record but win about as often as they are expected to.
  • Given’s nursery debutants who are turned out within 4 weeks are profitable.
  • The Lincolnshire trainer doesn’t have many first time out 3 year olds, and their record is again average.
  • However, second time up, if they are fancied (10/1 or shorter), their record is prolific.
  • His 3 year old maiden to handicap switchers have a low strike rate but score about as often as they are entitled to.
  • Given’s non last time out winning 3 year old+ runners in handicaps do best when turned out within 2 weeks (especially well when turned out within 7 days)
  • His last time out winners do best when returning with 4 weeks.
  • He has a lot of runners in Kempton in handicap company and has a good strike rate and impressive A/E
  • Given does well with his older handicappers (5-7 years old)
  • He has a superb record on the all-weather from May-August.

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