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Robyn Klaasen posed with her first Gr 1 winner, the New Predator colt Purple Pitcher. (Candiese Lenferna Photography)

The Gr 1 TAB SA Classic winner Purple Pitcher will either be going for the Gr 1 SA Derby over 2450m or the Gr 1 Premier’s Champions Challenge over 2000m.

Both of those race are on April 6 at Turffontein Standside and trainer Robyn Klaasen said there was 90% chance he would be going for the Derby and only 10% chance the Champions Challenge.

She said, “We want to go for the Derby just to test out the trip with him, but that is also the question now, whether he wil stay or not. We know he will stay the 2000m of the Premiers so do we go with the race we know with certainty he will stay or do we try him over the Derby distance?”

She also acknowledged that the Derby field would likely not be as strong as the Premier’s field and the contestants would all be the same age as Purple Pitcher.

Robyn not only proved herself a good trainer over the weekend, but also a good racing analyst.

This is what she told Turf Talk back in December a couple of weeks after winning the Gr 2 Jonsson Workwear Dingaans over 1600m at Turffontein Standside.

Robyn said, “He looks like a very nice horse and I’m very lucky to have him. I think he will be better over further. As could be seen in the Dingaans he only got going in the last couple of hundred metres.”

She felt the Guineas would actually be the hardest leg for him.

“If he can win the Guineas, I don’t see much who can beat him in the next two.”

Sandringham Summit will be the obvious danger in the Gr 1 WSB SA Classic over 1800m, but Robyn believes Purple Pitcher is better suited to the Turffontein Standside track than the latter is.

She believes Sandringham Summit has “a bit of a short run in” and questioned whether he was able to maintain it, although she admitted she might be wrong in that assessment.

Her assessment was accurate to the tee … while Purple Pitcher was staying on resolutely in the front on Saturday Sandringham Summit was closing in on him hand over first, but he was not able to maintain that momentum.

Purple Pitcher will always be a special horse for more ways than one to Robyn and family because she watched the Dingaans while lying in ICU a day after the birth of her first child.

It was a different story on Saturday … she watched from the Elevation Room and admitted that as Purple Pitcher crossed the line she was so overcome with emotion she burst into tears.

“It was surreal,” she said.

She said about him running from the front, “We were hoping to have one or two in front of us, but he won from the front like that over 1800m before, so it wasn’t the end of the world if he had to go.”

When she saw Sandringham Summit closing in on the outside in the closing stages she was not overly concerned.

She said, “I knew my horse was super fit and I knew he could hold on. The other horse looked like he was flying, but then over the last 100m they were all just plodding along and he (Purple Pitcher) was finishing the race.”

She added, “He’s special because he has a reserve tank that he knows how to access.”

In fact all flight animals, including the horse, hold reserve red blood cells in the spleen. In the wild they release this reserve blood when coming under threat from a predator. That is why racehorses who are able to relax in both the preliminaries and in the race usually perform bettter, because they are able to save those reserves for when they need it the most i.e. in the finish.

Robyn confirmed that Purple Pitcher was a small horse, maybe not even 16 hands, but was a very good mover.

However, he gives away nothing in work.

She said, “If you saw him working you would not think anything of him.”

It was only the first time they put him on the grass they could see he had ability.

He arrived in the yard a maiden after four starts, but then won five on the trot, including a Sales race and the Dingaans, and he is now a Gr 1 winner after finishing fourth in the Gr 2 TAB Gauteng Guineas.

The Bush Hill Stud-bred colt cost R170,000 at the BSA KZN Yearling Sale and is owned by Mr