The Canberra stable will present the ever-consistent Nieces and Nephews for the 1600m Open Handicap with Quayde Krogh taking the ride.
“He is so consistent and I think he can definitely run top two,” Matt Jones said.
“He is a typical Zariz. He is sound as a bell, tough as nails and nice to have around now that he has come of age.”
The six-year-old finished second in the Ted Ryder Cup Prelude when beaten 1.71 lengths by the in-form Zakeriz on December 6.
Nieces and Nephews meets the top weight 2.5kg better in the weights this time and Jones was confident of turning the tables on the Chris Hardy-trained Wagga runner.
“We looked to have had him for a bit last time they met, but the favourite kicked away, but he goes up a couple of kilos for this race,” Jones said.
“He won’t get it all his way this time either. I’m hoping Propose To Me from the wide draw goes forward and puts the pressure on and we just need one more to go forward, but it won’t be us.”
Propose To Me ($2.70), which finished third in the Ted Ryder Cup preview behind both Zakeriz ($2.80) and Nieces and Nephews ($5.50), is the current favourite for the $34,000 feature race.
“Our boy will give it a good go. We just need some luck but he can definitely win it,” Jones said.
Nieces and Nephews chances are certainly improved with Krogh back in the saddle, with the stable’s newest jockey in good form.
“He is absolutely awesome and a breath of fresh air,” Jones said of his stable’s jockey.
“He came down here with his partner Vanessa (Grant), and she rode trackwork for Gai Waterhouse, and they have just been awesome.”
“Both are fantastic. We are bouncing ideas off them all the time and they have proven to be a real blessing in disguise.”
It will be a big day for Murrumbidgee Turf Club on Friday, with their eight-race-program the only TAB gallop meeting in NSW and one of only two in the country.
The program kicks off at 1pm and full fields can be viewed here.