Trainer Clayton Harmey says Kanye Crusader was "a disappointment to his family" and was still with him only because he came with part-owner Brian Hamilton's truck late last year.
Harmey, though, is happy he's been proven wrong.
Come Saturday night, Kanye Crusader, which Harmey gave away early in 2019 to Tamworth trainer Richie Williams, could deliver him his first group 1 win.
Kanye Crusader and Western Heir will represent the Nulkaba trainer in the Hunter Region Championship Final (2030 metres) at Newcastle Paceway. The $100,000 decider is one of four across NSW.
While Western Heir was always one of Harmey's best hopes in the series, Kanye Crusader was not even on his radar.
However, the four-year-old gelding, which Harmey bred, led all the way in heat two on May 9 for his first win at Newcastle. He drew well in gate four for the final and was a $10 TAB chance on Friday.
"I didn't like him," Harmey said. "He was a disappointment to his family, because I love his mum, Khloe. She's had four foals and they've all won races for me.
"As a two-year-old he showed me he was going to be good, and then he wasn't.
"It's only because of Brian that he's back. I use Brian's truck and when he took him back from Tamworth, I used to say to my workers that the only reason he is here is because of the truck.
"Now he's in a group 1. It's amazing how things happen.
"He was in the paddock and Brian said to put him back into work, to my dislike, and here we are.
"He proved me wrong, he's done a good job. He's still no superstar. He's a rough chance tomorrow night but his form has been pretty good since he's come back."
Harmey believed Kanye Crusader had matured but he had also improved when driven forward.
"When you drive him in the field, he won't try, and if you do, you have to pull his ear plugs out early and pull him wide and not stop him when he's running," he said. "Jack Callaghan has had success on him at Tamworth so that's why he's on him."
Harmey's partner, Ange Morris, part-owns Kanye Crusader and Western Heir, which the trainer said was his best hope.
Western Heir, with Josh Osborn to drive, drew gate one and was a $4.20 second favourite behind Melanie Elder's Ashark ($3.40).
"He's up and down but that's the kind of horse he is," Harmey said. "He's a big, free-running fella. They tell me he's won the most races at Newcastle this season so he likes the track.
"He's run fast time there for a mile and 2000, so we'll be doing the same tomorrow hopefully."
"They've both worked as well as ever. Western Heir was here in his box kicking the walls down. He's ready to rock'n'roll."
Harmey believed Ashark and the Lisa McDonald-trained Master Catch would be the main threats but he was also wary of in-form Lightning Bob, for trainer Jenny Sellers.