FELLOW-COMPOSER Robert Schumann once described Beethoven’s more sedate Symphony No 4 as a “slender Greek maiden between two Norse gods’’, referring to Symphonies No 3 (The Eroica) and the famous No 5, both with towering reputations.
<p>The same can be said of today’s Kenilworth meeting – a docile affair shoved between last Saturday’s Avontuur Estate Fillies Guineas and Sunday’s Midmar Premier Trophy (G2) and the following weekend’s R1 million Bloodstock SA Guineas (G1).</p> <p>Heading up the card is a Graduation Plate over 1600m that appears tailormade for Dean Kannemeyer’s Al Pasha. After a lengthy period in which the stable has battled to find form, if recent results are anything to go by, that fortune is about to change.</p> <p>Both Kannemeyer and stable jockey “MJ’’ Byleveld have been making regular visits to the No 1 box and judged on his 1.75-length third to Air Combat and Rudi Rocks over the course and distance last time out, the pair looks set for yet another appointment.</p> <p>Early in his career Al Pasha was being touted as a possible star but after scoring two wins and two places in his first five starts, the son of Al Mufti failed to put it in when the chips were down.</p> <p>After a moderate run in the KZN Derby at Clairwood in which he finished a 4.40-length 11th to Winter Weather, the decision was finally taken to geld him. His return last month was most impressive as he was running on well to finish third to two runners who are highly regarded by their respective trainers. Even his stable seems to have been taken aback by the run as he was allowed to go off at 20-1.<br /> <br /> There will certainly not be 20-1 available about Al Pasha tomorrow as he is well weighted to win here under the plated conditions. He has a 3kg advantage over Jet Force, his closest rival at the weights, and looks set to confirm the form of 1 April in which he beat Justin Snaith’s runner by a head at Durbanville and is now 2.5kg better off.<br /> <br /> Although 3.5kg out with Al Pasha Predestination looks the main threat. Although not one of the best three-year-olds at the moment, Joey Ramsden’s runner is in the upper echelons and has been contesting many of the graded races.<br /> <br /> He was desperately unlucky in the Grade 2 Umkhomazi Stakes over 1400m when a 3.05-length fifth to Forest Path as Piere Strydom had to ease him to a virtual standstill in the final 50m after Mount Hood ducked from the shadow and Predestination became badly squeezed between two runners.<br /> <br /> He showed his wellbeing in October when running out a 3.25-length victor over Golden Cup over 1600m at Greyville but this will be only his second run at Kenilworth and like Al Pasha, he will be having his second run after a layoff. <br /> <br /> Grisham had a useful post-maiden run when beaten 0.20 lengths by Noblewood and Moot Call over 1800m at this track. There were excuses as he did rear in the stalls and as he was supported to start a 15-20 favourite, he must be showing trainer Mike Bass something in work.<br /> <br /> The three-year-old Kahal gelding takes a jump in class and is not well weighted but he should be good enough to run into the money if he does not give jockey Glen Hatt too much of a rough ride.<br /> <br /> Jet Force is one of those horses who is equally adept to running at Kenilworth and Durbanville but while he is held by Al Pasha on form, one must take into account that Snaith and Richard Fourie are currently riding the crest of the form wave and from a No 1 draw, the Jet Master gelding should not be left out of Trifectas and Quartets.</p> <p> <br />            <br />   </p> <p> </p>