They are the ragtag team of gallopers that carried John Moore to within an inch of the trainers’ championship last season and he is hoping to go to the well one more time.
They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and Moore certainly has made the most of recent additions to his stable with the likes of Monica, Encouraging and Touch Of Luck allowing the handler to launch a late-season charge for the 2018-19 title.
Stable transfers contributed almost 20 per cent of Moore’s 75 winners last season, taking him within three wins of John Size.
“That is what made the difference last season, it was the stable transfers,” Moore said.
Moore will saddle up a team of three in the Class One Panasonic Cup (1,400m) on Saturday, headlined by the Hong Kong Macau Trophy winner Good Standing.
After being heavily backed in last month’s Group Two Premier Bowl, Moore said he felt let down by Good Standing’s effort that saw him fade to finish sixth.
“He was disappointing, I honestly thought he would run better than that,” Moore said. “He was given a good ride and everything but didn’t hit the line.
“You’d have to forgive him but his work leading into the race has been good, there are no issues whatsoever.”
After running over distances between 1,200m to 1,600m in Hong Kong, Moore said 1,400m was his preferred trip.
Good Standing has earned a reputation as a tease horse for punters after starting single-figure odds in 10 of his 15 starts in Hong Kong but only producing two wins.
“The 1,400m is right up his ally so you have to give him another go,” he said. “His best can be brilliant and then all of a sudden, it doesn’t happen.”
Howver, Moore’s pick of his trio is Encouraging, who will enjoy a 10-pound advantage thanks to claiming apprentice Alfred Chan Ka-hei.
The six-year-old was a star performer for Moore last season, reeling off four wins after a midseason transfer from Michael Freedman’s stable.
Encouraging had nine starts for Freedman but didn’t fire a shot until he changed stables.
Moore put his success with stable transfers down to a change in environment for the horses.
“You give them a change of environment, nutrition and a change of work patterns and it does wonders,” he said.
“It happens to most of them, you look at Douglas Whyte now, it will happen with David Hayes next season too. It is exciting to be able to get them to improve and perform.”
Jumping from barrier one, Encouraging is likely to take the lead in the race after only being beaten by Classic Mile contender Golden Sixty first-up in Class Two company this season.
“Encouraging has improved since his last run, the feedback from Conghua has been very positive,” Moore said.
“He has improved since his last run and that was a good run because he beat the rest of the field by around two lengths, he just happened to get beaten by a smart one in Golden Sixty.”
Former Australian galloper Taking Aim also goes around for Moore in the race as he looks to recapture his two-year-old form in Hong Kong.
Formerly trained by Peter and Paul Snowden, Taking Aim has form around multiple Group One winners Melody Belle and Pierata.