Racing: Marina rewards Johnston's belief

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The Independent Online
MARINA PARK yesterday produced the best performance of the year by a British-trained horse outside Europe, finishing second, beaten just a neck, in the pounds 247,000 Hong Kong International Bowl over seven furlongs at Sha Tin.

Ridden by Lanfranco Dettori, Marina Park hit the front at the two-furlong pole and was headed only in the final 50 yards by the locally trained favourite, Winning Colours, who answered the vigorous driving of Michael Kinane.

Marina Park won pounds 75,000, to give Mark Johnston, her Middleham-based trainer, his biggest pay day. 'If her preparation had been better she might even have won,' Johnston said. 'She got into the field only at the very last minute and was turned out in a field for a while.'

The other British challenger, Richard Hannon's Swing Low, broke slowly and never got into the race, yet still was beaten less than four lengths in seventh place. Clive Brittain's Alflora finished 12th of the 14 runners in the pounds 247,229 International Cup. This prize was also kept at home, as the John Moore- trained Motivation held the late burst of France's challenger, Verveine, by a length. Motivation won a Yarmouth handicap for James Eustace in 1991 when he was known as Freak Toss.

Urban Sea, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner, will stay in training as a five-year-old, when her main targets will be the Prix Ganay, the Coronation Cup, and a second crack at the Arc, her trainer, Jean Lesbordes, reported yesterday.