Racing: Mellottie mastered

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The Independent Online
MELLOTTIE and Half A Tick, Britain's hopes for the pounds 390,000 International Cup at Sha Tin, Hong Kong, yesterday, could finish only seventh and 10th as New Zealand's contender, Romanee Conti, came home a comfortable winner in the nine-furlong event.

Hamdan Al Maktoum's Fraar, formerly with Tom Jones but now trained in Australia, was second with American's Charmonnier third. The French- trained Urban Sea, ridden by Walter Swinburn, fared best of the European runners, finishing sixth. River Verdon, a strong favourite in the betting and with the locals generally, was a big disappointment and failed to make the shake-up.

John Lowe was delighted with Mellottie's placing. The horse had been unable to work on Thursday because of back problems, and Lowe said: 'I'm very pleased to finish two lengths behind Urban Sea, a group-winning filly.'

At Ayr, Mellottie's trainer, Mary Reveley, was similarly enthusiastic about Cab On Target after he ran away with the Future Champions Novice Chase. 'He's the first horse I've ever trained that I have considered good enough to run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and I believe there is still improvement in him,' she said.

Peter Niven, the successful jockey, took up the theme. 'This is a really top-class horse - he's got speed, he's got stamina, he's got brains, he's got the lot. I can't wait to take on Jodami at Cheltenham next March.'