Senior riding ranks in the north will be bolstered with the impending return of Group One-winning jockey Michael McNab next month.
McNab, who guided Melody Belle to success in the Gr.1 Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni last year, has been riding in Queensland since June.
While he was sitting inside the top 20 on the Brisbane metropolitan jockeys' premiership, McNab has decided to return to New Zealand for "family reasons" and has slated the Counties meeting on December 5 for his first raceday back in New Zealand.
"I've found Brisbane really good and while it hasn't been a raging success, I feel my riding has improved going up against Ryan Maloney, Jeff Lloyd, Jimmy Orman and Jim Byrne, to name but a few," McNab said.
"I have a goal to win another Group One race back home. Hopefully I can establish myself again and I'd love to chase a premiership, maybe next season. I'm absolutely fizzing to get back riding at home and can't wait to catch-up with my good mates in the jockeys' room."
Despite not finishing last season in New Zealand, McNab rode a career-best 51 winners, seven of those at stakes level. Among the highlights were Magic Chai's Gr.2 Wellington Cup (3200m) win at Trentham, Savvy Coup's Gr.3 Eulogy Stakes (1600m) success at Awapuni and Melt's Gr.3 Eclipse Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie.