A former amateur jockey, James rode more than one hundred and fifty thoroughbred winners in point-to-points and under rules, as well as over fifty arabian winners in arabian flat races.
His success allowed him to become East Anglian point-to-point champion jockey for nine consecutive years and it was during this time that he became associated with John Ferguson.
In 2011, James became assistant trainer to John at his successful national hunt yard 'Bloomfields' and James spent three very enjoyable years there.
After retiring from race riding in 2014, James set up 'James Owen Racing', now based on Hamilton Rd in Newmarket, the centre of British horse racing. As well as pre-training, James also trains a string of arabians during the summer months, for owners including H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin R Al Maktoum.