Trainer Angela Langton believes box eight is Tyler Durden’s greatest hurdle as the three-time Group 1 sprint finalist chases a middle-distance hat-trick at The Meadows in Saturday night’s TAB Venue Mode Grade 5 final (600m) – Race 5 at 8.06pm.
Named after the lead character from cult movie Fight Club, Tyler Durden was runner-up in the G1 Silver Chief final in January, beaten less than a length, and also contested the Australian Cup and National Derby finals at G1 level.
But his get-back and finish-hard racing pattern always indicated he would be effective over more ground.
That’s proven to be the case, with the December ’18 son of Fernando Bale and Shanakee recording impressive Sandown Park 595m (34.14sec) and The Meadows 600m (34.50sec) victories at his last two starts, boosting his overall record to eight from 39.
“He’s been a terrific dog and he’s still only young,” Angela Langton said.
“He’s actually Jeff’s (Britton, partner) dog but I’m happy to take the credit!
“We always thought he would get the 600m. He’s bred to get it and being a bit tardy early it gives him the chance to get to the front and keep out of trouble.
“We’re really happy with how he’s going over the 600. He’s had two good wins, he’s running time and he’s got a lot of confidence now.”
Tyler Durden is $1.70 favourite to continue his winning ways at The Meadows, where he’s won four from 11 over 525m, including a scorching 29.66sec Australian Cup heat victory.
“You never want to draw box eight on a bend start,” Langton offered.
“He’s probably the class dog in the race and he seems to really like The Meadows. We schooled him there early days and he enjoys following the lure into the catching pen the way they do at The Meadows.
“It’s just a matter of whether he can get across. He needs a bit of luck and if he’s up near the front he’ll have a really good chance.
“In time he’ll step up to 700m. His brother, Pilbara (G1 Super Stayers finalist) has been racing well over 700m so with a few more 600s under his belt we’ll give him a go at it.”
Langton also has promising youngster Keep It Black, the winner of five from 15, engaged in the Mr Alan Browitt Memorial over 525m (Race 7 at 8.50pm); however, she fears he’s been thrown in the deep end against the likes of joint $2.70 favourites Aston Titan and Jax Bale.
“He’s only a baby. He’s going really well and comes from a very nice litter but I think he’s been unfairly graded,” she said.
In what could be a big night for the potent Anakie kennel, Jeff Britton’s boom stayer Hank The Hustler will continue his build-up to next month’s G1 Sandown Cup, albeit the $2.50 fancy is dropping back to 600m for the sixth event (8.28pm).
“Again, his confidence is up after a couple of really good wins,” Langton said.
“Ideally you wouldn’t drop him back to 600m on a corner start where he can get into trouble but there just aren’t enough 700m races around.”
WATCH: Middle-distance revelation Tyler Durden (2) scores by 9.7L over 600m at The Meadows last week.
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