PRECISION planning from those complete professionals, champion trainer John Moore and his jockey Johnny Marshall, saw the $5 million Group Three International Cup return home yesterday with a comfortable length success from Motivation at sodden Sha Tin. They sat down before the race and went through each horse and came to one inescapable conclusion - there would not be any speed on. So they decided to ride Motivation closer to the pace than usual and also opted for a hands and heels finish as the flashy Argentinian-bred horse is one of those enigmatic types who does not respond to the whip. Their foresight paid the perfect dividend - Motivation was never going to be caught once Marshall kicked clear just after they straightened for home off that predictably slow pace. They had a length to spare over the French filly Verveine who in turn held the late burst from America's Stark South by a short head. It was a similar margin back to River Verdon who was not at all suited by the slowly-run race. A jubilant Marshall, riding as well as he ever did when the champion back home in Sydney, beamed: ''We took the initiative as we thought it was going to be a slowly-run affair. ''During the run I couldn't believe that we would be allowed to virtually canter along in front at the speed we went. ''I was sitting in second place thinking 'this is all right', but I wasn't going to hang around once we got into the straight. 'I'm off', I thought, and while it felt a pretty long run in for much of the way, John had the horse spot-on and he held on really well.'' The heavens opened a good half hour before the Cup and a persistent drizzle turned to a downpour. Marshall went on: ''We were also helped by the rain. He's a horse who is that much better with cut in the ground.'' According to Moore this is so often the case with the Argentian-bred stock. In Motivation's case he was bought in a batch of about 30 by Moore's Australian bloodstock agent John Foote, who was in Hong Kong to watch the race. Foote had originally gone to Argentina on behalf of an Adelaide Supermarket Group who were interested in racing - rather than selling - Argentinian-bred horses who have been so popular with some of the world's great trainers such as South African legend Terrence Millard and America's Ron McAnally. Moore told Foote to find him one and the result was Motivation who, despite beating future American Grade One winner Ibero as a two-year-old in a domestic Group Three event, had to be shipped to England to be qualified to race in Hong Kong. That was no easy task as Motivation, a sparely-made individual when in full bloom, failed to acclimatise when with David Oughton's brother-in-law James Eustace at Newmarket and only just scraped in with a modest Yarmouth win after three failures on the Lingfield Park equitrack. How times change. Olivier Peslier, jockey of runner-up Verveine, offered no excuses. He said: ''She became unbalanced at the top of the straight but it didn't make any difference to the result. She would have only been a closer second. She wouldn't have won. ''Nor could you say the distance was too short or the ground too fast. They were fine for her. ''But maybe she wasn't quite at her best after racing in America last time.'' River Verdon had no luck at all as no horse was coming from behind to win yesterday except for Moore's Cop The Cash who looked to have a class in hand in the day's opener. Basil Marcus said: ''At the 300-metre marker I thought River Verdon would get them but it was from there on in that the slow early pace took its toll on him as the others were able to kick again. ''But he's run a great race. It was just that the lack of pace was right against him.'' Mick Kinane thought that Alfora's tame 12th out of 14 runners could be put down to his long hard season in Europe. Mick Dittman was disappointed by Dark Ksar's 10th and Frankie Dettori thought something went wrong with Malaysian runner Navajo II. ''I was pushing before the bend and then in the straight I couldn't get him off the rail. He kept wanting to hang in,'' said Dettori. Moore's double took him to 18 winners for the season and left him one adrift of arch rival Ivan Allan in the trainer standings.