09/08/2003 11:00PM

Cumani appeals ruling


Trainer Luca Cumani has filed an appeal with the Irish Turf Club against a Saturday ruling by the Leopardstown stewards, who allowed High Chaparral to remain the winner of the Irish Champion Stakes over the Cumani-trained runner-up, Falbrav.

High Chaparral, trained by Aidan O'Brien and ridden by Michael Kinane, withstood both a stewards' inquiry and a claim of foul by Falbrav's rider, Darryll Holland, after having crossed the line a neck in front of Falbrav.

Holland tried to get through on the rail with Falbrav but appeared to have less and less room as High Chaparral and Falbrav neared the line. Cumani believes High Chaparral impeded Falbrav and cost him the race.

"High Chaparral impeded Falbrav three times during the course of the race," Cumani said, "and he was leaning in on Falbrav in the latter stages."

The stewards of the Irish Turf Club will set a date for the inquiry, at which time the trainers and riders of both horses will be interviewed.

Cumani is weighing his options for Falbrav's next races. He said that although the 1 1/4 miles of the Champion Stakes at Newmarket on Oct. 18 is Falbrav's best distance, "the 1 1/2 miles of the Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita would be ideal for him because the first few furlongs are downhill, and there is every likelihood of firm ground."