Jamie Richards knows the clock is ticking in more ways than one.
Richards' great mare Melody Belle has the penultimate start of her amazing career on the Gold Coast today, while closer to home, the giant Te Akau machine is starting to slow for the season even though there are 12 weeks to go.
The TAB is running a market on how many winners Richards will train for the season after he has already rewritten the record books with 153 victories in New Zealand.
They have him $1.01 to train more than 160 winners, which should happen, but maybe not by much.
"Things will really start to quiet down on the racing front soon," Richards told the Weekend Herald.
"I'd say we would be lucky if we had another 50 starters for the season. A lot of horses are spelling and we are working on a lot of the babies at home."
With a strike rate of a winner every 4.77 starters, some rough maths suggests Richards might finish the season on about 165 wins, as well as new records for stakes won in New Zealand, and black-type race wins, which sits at 36 domestically.
He could add to that last tally in the Waikato Stakes at Te Rapa today but highly-promising juvenile Noverre meets some smart rivals.
"We really like him and think he could be a machine by Guineas time in the spring," says Richards. "But I am a little worried the 1100m [today] could be a little on the short side."
With Rangi Toa, Turn The Ace and Musigny Lass all brilliant last-start winners, the race looks an autumn gem on a day when the jumpers also return to Te Rapa.
While Te Akau are slowing for the season soon, they are favoured to win the first hurdle of the season, with Bak De Master (Race 2, No 4).
Richards rates Romantic Lady (Race 8, No 7) a good each-way chance in the feature sprint set to be run on a better than usual track for this time of the season.
But it will be the Gold Coast where the glamour focus of today's racing is, with Melody Belle, Tiptronic and Two Illicit taking on some proven Australian weight-for-age heavyweights in the A$500,000 Hollindale Stakes.
Melody Belle is having her penultimate start, her finale being in the Doomben Cup in two weeks, before being sold as a broodmare prospect at public auction a few days later.
She has a wide draw for the 1800m which could be negated by the wet track but is still likely to have to run past some good horses if she is to win in the hands of Opie Bosson.
"I can see her running on well but the Cup in two weeks is her bigger and maybe more suitable aim," Richards said.