Craig Williams hasn’t had to worry too much about Australian racing between Sandown Guineas Day and the early part of the new year the past few seasons, reports Racing Victoria.

For the past four years the star jockey has ridden in Japan and Hong Kong in the lead-up to Christmas with the Guineas Day card his final meeting in Australia for the year.

But Williams is remaining put in 2014. He will ride through until the final metropolitan meeting before Christmas and is looking forward to being a part of the festive period with wife Larysa and children Viktor (16), Olena (12), Oliver (five) and Summer (two).

“The meeting at Flemington on the 20th of December will be my last meeting for the year and then I’m going to spend some time with the family,” Williams said.

“It felt unusual to be flicking through the calendar and looking at the meetings that we look like we’re going to be riding at rather than (just) riding every Saturday and Sunday in Japan or in Hong Kong.

“It is a little bit unusual, but for the stage my family is at now, I’m delighted to be able to spend time with them through the Christmas period.”

Remaining in Melbourne has Williams poised to offer perhaps his biggest Victorian Metropolitan Jockeys’ Premierships challenge since he completed four-straight wins in that award in 2008/09.

Williams sits in third place, on 11 wins, behind Dwayne Dunn (19) and Damien Oliver(18) despite the Spring Racing Carnival, to date, not living up to his normal lofty standards.

The dual Cox Plate and Caulfield Cup winner’s biggest success of the Carnival was theGroup 2 Schweppes Crystal Mile with Hooked.

Williams doesn’t have a ride in the $350,000 Group 2 Deadly Designs Zipping Classic(2400m) at Sportingbet Park, but partners the Robert Smerdon-trained Ungrateful Ellen, a late nomination, in the day’s other Group 2, the $300,000 Sportingbet Sandown Guineas (1600m).

“Obviously you’ve got to respect Robert Smerdon and (owner) David Price and if they’re happy to nominate Ungrateful Ellen in that race then I’m delighted to ride her,” Williams said.

Ungrateful Ellen is a $31 chance in TAB’s Guineas market with the support races appearing to present Williams with his best opportunities, none more so than Thurlow, the short-priced favourite for the opening event on the card.

The Santa’s Magical Kingdom Stakes that kicks off the card at 1pm will be the first start for the Smerdon-trained filly since her meritorious second to Antelucan on Melbourne Cup Day.

“Thurlow’s debut run was excellent, finishing second down the straight, and I’m looking forward to her coming on and having her second start,” he said.

Pheidon is a $5.50 co-favourite for the Group 3 Eclipse StakesDual Starshapes as one of the biggest threats to hot favourite Wine Tales in the Listed City Of Greater Dandenong Stakes, while Williams also partners Shoreham in the $150,000 Listed Sportingbet Sandown Cup.

“A couple of his runs this preparation have been eye-catching, but he hasn’t delivered the big blow yet,” Williams said of the Saab Hasan-trained stayer.

“Saab’s been patient, he didn’t run him every weekend and decided he’d target the Sandown Cup, so he’s shaping up nicely.”