Roger James always knew he would work with thoroughbreds. They were his passion, and having experienced years in the equestrian world, horses were in his blood.
At the completion of his formal education Roger initially embarked on a career in banking, but it wasn’t long before the pull of the “sport of kings” became so strong he had to follow his heart into racing.
Roger’s distinguished career began with breaking in and pre-training. After two years he was successful in his application to become foreman for legendary trainer Jim Gibbs, and began learning his craft from one of the best in the business. Soon he became a fully licenced trainer himself and stepped into a prosperous five year partnership with Gibbs where the successful pair saddled up six Group 1 winners - among them Tidal Light, the winner of 10 races including the Group 1 New Zealand Derby and Group 1 Canterbury Guineas in Sydney.
From the beginning of the 88/89 season Roger trained on his own account for six years before welcoming a succession of junior partners; Ross Taylor, Lance Noble, Leanne Bertling and more recently Paul Mirabelli. It was during the 96/97 season Roger became “Champion NZ Trainer Of The Year” – an award that he rates high on his list of accomplishments.
Roger is not adverse to campaigning horses in Australia either. He has regularly crossed the Tasman to secure black type success, and has now trained a Group 1 or Group 2 winner in four states there.
Supported by a loyal and professional team, Roger’s current day training operation is based at his idyllic Kingsclere Stables in Cambridge. Plus he also has an impressive agistment property nearby where he lives which is run by his partner Sally.
Roger has just recently joined the elite "1000 Club" training over 1000 winners in New Zealand. Added to this, he can boast saddling over 45 winners in Australia, and an impressive 28 Group One successes Australasia wide.