Craig Williams set for extended stay in Queensland

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Craig Williams

Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Craig Williams has opted to remain in Queensland amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis happening in Victoria, Australia.

Williams is coming off two winning rides at Eagle Farm on the weekend, and with two rides already booked in for black-type racing at the same venue for this coming Saturday, it was an easy decision for the nine-time Melbourne jockeys premiership winner.

The in-demand hoop has been booked in to ride the Chris Waller-trained Only Words in the $600,000 Group 1 Queensland Oaks, while he is also teaming up with Annabel Neasham in the Listed Queensland Day Stakes for three-year-olds when he rides Wisdom Of Water on Saturday.

Victorian-based jockeys Jamie Kah, Ben Allen and Jye McNeil have all opted to return home to Victoria and have accepted for rides at Wednesday’s Sandown Hillside meeting, with a return to Queensland a doubtful proposition.

Williams’ rider agent, Jason Breen, revealed that his client would remain in Queensland for the Eagle Farm meeting on June 12 with rides in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap and the inaugural running of the Q22.

The decision would have been made easier by the fact his streak of five-straight Melbourne jockey premierships is set to come to an end. Williams and McNeil are tied for sixth place on the premiership standings with 35 wins.

Kah has sewn up her first premiership with 89 wins to her name and has the chance to become the first female jockey to claim 100 metropolitan winners in a season.

Williams is expected to continually reassess the ongoing restrictions in his home state.

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