Richard Hannon is leaning towards next month’s bet365 Craven Stakes at Newmarket for Threat before his return to Headquarters for the Qipco 2000 Guineas.
The Marlborough handler has earmarked the mile Group Three prize as a potential starting point for the son of Footstepsinthesand, who is as short as 16-1 for the opening Classic of the season.
Although only finishing fifth in the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket in October on his first start at Group One level, Threat had previously highlighted his talents with Group Two wins in the Gimcrack at York and Champagne Stakes at Doncaster.
He said: “We are extremely happy with how he has done over the winter.
“Physically he has grown up and mentally he has grown up, which he needed to do because he got a little bit restless at times last year. A lot of the good two-year-old form revolves around him.
“As he has already been to Newmarket and won his maiden there and handled it, we might go for the Craven, but nothing is set in stone yet.”
While Threat has yet to race beyond seven furlongs, Hannon is confident he should have no problem in getting a mile.
“He is by Footstepsinthesand, who was a miler, and we are hopeful he will get the mile – and we think he will.
“He is very relaxed, which gives him every chance of getting the trip.
“Charlie’s (Appleby) horse Pinatubo will be a hard horse to beat in the Guineas, but you can’t run away from one horse – and Threat is in very good nick.”
Hannon believes impressive York sales race winner Mums Tipple, who finished two places behind Threat in the Middle Park on his final start, could be better suited to the Irish 2,000 Guineas.
He said: “He has always been a massive horse and didn’t really need to do much developing over the winter.
“We will have a look at a few of the trials for him, but I’m thinking he might be more of an Irish 2,000 Guineas horse. I think a flat track suits him better.
“We could even sit out the set trial Group races with him, because his big win was only in a sales race.”
Hannon expects last year’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes winner King Of Change can continue to establish himself as one of the leading milers this season, starting with a possible outing in the Group Two bet365 Mile at Sandown.
He said: “He came out of that Ascot race great. I’d like to think he can do well in that mile division again this year. He is very lightly raced, and I expect there is more to come.
“We will be looking at either going to Sandown for the bet365 Mile first, then the Lockinge or straight to the Lockinge. After that, you are then looking at going back to Ascot for the Queen Anne.”