How do you replace a retired star? With a new superstar and incredibly, John Moore's "dream owner", Dr Cornel Li Fook-kwan appears to have done exactly that with Able Friend.
The mood at Sha Tin was one of shock three years ago when Able One took out the Hong Kong Mile at 65-1 as a nine-year-old and it was a mood replicated for very different reasons when Able Friend made a complete mess of yesterday's race with most fans cheering this time.
This time it was shock and awe, not shock and how.
Able One, a winner of three Group Ones, 10 races and almost HK$38 million, had walked out of Moore's stables at almost the moment Able Friend walked in - and now remarkably the latter promises to eclipse anything that terrific old horse had ever done.
"Dr Li deserves it - he's been part of racing for a long time, he understands the game and can read a race and he never ever complains," Moore said. "He is a trainer's dream. When you want to buy a horse for him, he'll look at it, look at the pedigree and say go ahead. He understands immediately."
Where Dr Li, a long-term client of the trainer, and Moore diverge is on the matter of travelling horses overseas, although whether that is insurmountable remains to be seen with Able Friend.
He was a horse Moore had toyed with taking to Royal Ascot last June for the Queen Anne Stakes, and he may look in the same direction in 2015, but he has another assignment in mind first and some convincing to do.
"Dr Li is a bit reluctant to travel his horses, and I think this horse would be perfect for Dubai," said Moore.
"He'll go to the Stewards' Cup next and then I'll do my utmost to convince Cornel to go for the Duty Free but that might be a long lunch and a lot of alcohol."