THE controversy over the selection of ''Kiwi'' horse Capestad to represent Australia in the showpiece International Bowl this December developed further yesterday with the intervention of the Australian Trainers' Association. A number of top Australian handlers feel so strongly about the matter that they petitioned their trade association to write to the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club expressing their concern. They even asked the ATA to seek clarification of what actually constitutes an 'Australian' horse! The ATA state executive officer Martin Connell says in his letter, a copy of which has reached the SCMP : ''This selection has caused some concern amongst members of this association as, despite Capestad being trained in Queensland for the last six months, it is still generally regarded as being a New Zealand representative and as such its competing in the Hong Kong International race under an Australian banner is being questioned by the Australian Training Industry.'' This follows remarks on Thursday from leading Sydney trainer Billy Mitchell who was dumbfounded by Capestad's selection. Mitchell said: ''Capestad is a good horse, don't get me wrong. But he is New Zealand bred, New Zealand owned and his trainer Gary Stewart is a New Zealander.'' Lee Freedman, who has set the Australian training world alight from his Melbourne base, is also understood to be upset by Capestad's presence. Connell goes on to ask the Jockey Club ''if you could confirm or deny a report that Capestad was nominated for the International Bowl both here in Australia and in New Zealand''. Major-General Guy Watkins, the Jockey Club's chief executive, responded to Connell's questions, pointing out that reports from Australian journalists of Capestad's dual entry were entirely unfounded. ''Capestad was not entered via New Zealand as well,'' he stressed. Nor does the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club have any hands-on policy as far as who runs is concerned, though they are responsible for nominating who picks the Australian and New Zealand horses in the first place. General Watkins believes any questioning of the selection should be directed at the Jockey Club's nominated Australian authority, in this case Victoria Racing Club handicapper Jim Bowler. He quoted the race prospectus as stipulating each runner is ''selected by the appointed authority in the region or country concerned. They then become the invited horses''. General Watkins added: ''There is no way we should be or would get involved and say 'we don't like your number one selection go down to number two'. '' The debate over the failure of the New Zealand handicapper to select last season's winner, Romanee Conti, for the International Cup also heightened yesterday when it emerged that in her reappearance win in a Group Three weight-for-age contest she beat no less than four Group One winners in a superb performance. Racing over 1,200 metres, a trip far short of her best, she finished like a top-notch mare to beat Lord Tridan - who ran for New Zealand in last season's International Bowl. She had the Group One winner, Hypervain, back in third. He was a former winner of the Railway Handicap which is New Zealand's top sprint event. She disposed of former W.S. Cox Plate winner Surfer's Paradise as well as Javelin, New Zealand's sprinter of the year, and Vain Sovereign, a former sprinter of year. John Berry, former assistant trainer to Luca Cumani, was there to watch Romanee Conti win. He said: ''She looked magnificent and finished like a train.'' Add to this the fact that in lifting last April's International Cup she beat subsequent Arc De Triomphe winner, Urban Sea, and subsequent Group One Caulfield Cup winner, Fraar, and it is hard to deny that December's International Cup will be detracted from by her absence.