Hey Steve, why would you advise against going down @ the front?
I thought it was generally established 1 tooth front roughly equal to 3 tooth rear and does not matter where it comes from provided you are not getting into crazy sizes. Just gear ratios right?
If you drop the front you are lowering the top speed due to the engine revving higher. He will want to add to front and reduce the rear to get more top end (in theory). As mentioned, adding top speed without engine mods is not likely through simple gearing.
If you go -1 up front it is the same as +2 at the rear. Opposite of what he wants.