The fact that champion trainer Richard Hannon has publicly stated that he prefers not to take on the tremendously impressive Newbury maiden winner Top Offer in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes over seven furlongs later this season can be read in a number of ways, but whichever way you read it Hannon has already paid a huge compliment to the Roger Charlton-trained juvenile, writes Elliot Slater. Fans of Betfair Sports betting might find this of interest.

Harbour Watch is currently the clear ante-post favourite for next year’s 2000 Guineas at Newmarket having put up a series of hugely impressive displays, culminating in his effortless two-and-a-quarter-length defeat of Bannock in the Group 2 Tanqueray Richmond Stakes at Glorious Goodwood last month where he showed a fine cruising speed allied to a lethal turn of foot.

That victory came over six furlongs and Hannon feels it is wise to stick at that trip for the time being, strongly favouring tackling the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes at HQ on October 8 instead of running in the seven-furlong Dewhurst Stakes (a race that seems to be the current target for Top Offer), on the same card on Champions Day at the home of British Flat racing. Experts such as Paul Nicholls may agree.

A best priced 9/1 for the 2000 Guineas at present (whilst Top Offer is a 16/1 chance at the moment for the same event), nothing less than a victory in the Middle Park Stakes will ensure that Hannon’s charge ends the term as the winter favourite for the first classic of 2012.

For his part Top Offer still has something to prove, but there was absolutely no doubting the star potential he showed on his debut and the comments of his experienced and respected handler in stating that he believes the son of Dansili could be something very special has only served to whet the racing public’s appetite for a potential clash between the two star juveniles of the moment.

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