09/24/2003 12:00AM

With High Chaparral and Falbrav, the Europeans look tough to beat again


The European domination of the $2 million Breeders' Cup Turf may be difficult to break this year.

A North American-based horse has not won the Turf since Buck's Boy in 1998 at Churchill Downs. Since then, the nation's richest turf race has been won by the English imports Daylami (1999), Kalanisi (2000), and Fantastic Light (2001), and the Irish invader High Chaparral (2002).

This year, the best hope among the American-based horses is Storming Home, who was imported from England last fall. A two-time stakes winner at Hollywood Park in the spring, Storming Home finished first in the Arlington Million on Aug. 16 but was disqualified and placed fourth for causing interference near the finish.

Trained by Neil Drysdale, Storming Home will have his final prep for the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup Turf in Sunday's $250,000 Clement Hirsch Turf Championship at Santa Anita, a race expected to draw 2003 stakes winners Irish Warrior and Johar.

High Chaparral, unbeaten in two starts this year, is on schedule to defend his title. Trained in Ireland by Aidan O'Brien, High Chaparral will start in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in Paris on Oct. 5, a race that will more clearly define the European team.

The presence of High Chaparral would mark the first time the defending champion has run in the Turf since Buck's Boy finished third in 1999 at Gulfstream Park. No horse has ever won two runnings of the Turf.

Other top European candidates for the Turf are Falbrav, a two-time Group 1 winner in England this year who was second to High Chaparral in the Irish Champion Stakes earlier this month, and Sulamani, who was promoted from second to first in the Arlington Million following the disqualification of Storming Home.

Other potential starters from Europe include Ange Gabriel, Brian Boru, Doyen, Kaieteur, Kris Kin, and Paolini. Plans for Alamshar (the Irish Derby winner) and Dalakhani (the French Derby winner) are uncertain. Some of those may start in the Champion Stakes at Newmarket, England, on Oct. 18.

Sulamani returned to England following the Arlington Million and then came back to the United States. He will start as a heavy favorite in Saturday's $750,000 Turf Classic at Belmont Park. The Turf Classic field is expected to include Lunar Sovereign, the winner of the Man o' War Stakes at Belmont Park on Sept. 6.

Falbrav and High Chaparral are 4-1 co-favorites for the Turf with English bookmaker Coral, which lists Sulamani at 9-2, Storming Home at 6-1, and Lunar Sovereign at 16-1.

Falbrav, 5, is scheduled to start in Saturday's Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over a mile at Ascot, England. If he wins he could run in the Breeders' Cup Mile, but he has specialized in races at 1 1/4 miles or farther in recent seasons.

The 2002 Japan Cup winner, Falbrav has risen to the top of the English older horse division this year with victories in the Coral Eclipse Stakes at Sandown and the Juddmonte International at York.