When stable star Two Blue retired to stud after a career-best season, it didn’t take long for another horse with the potential to take the mantle of Kristen Buchanan’s stable star to emerge.
As a rising eight-year-old Two Blue found herself in a rich vein of form, winning the Group Two Sapphire Stakes at Randwick in April and finishing fourth in the Group One BTC Cup in May.
She left to become a mother after beating one runner home in the Stradbroke Handicap in June, two months before stablemate Echo Effect arrived on the scene.
The three-year-old colt put wins at Taree, Kembla Grange and Wyong on the board in his first three starts prompting Buchanan to head to Randwick where he was seventh in the Listed Heritage Stakes (1100m) on September 17.
Echo Effect resumes on Saturday in the ALM Handicap over 1200m at Randwick as he starts his road back to black-type racing.
He was narrowly beaten in a barrier trial at Wyong on December 28 by stakes placegetter Supreme Effort.
“His trial was nice,” Buchannan said.
“He’s had a jump-out since but obviously he’s not peaking on his race fitness yet so I guess that will be the telling factor.”
“I think he’s fit enough for the 1200 metres first-up but he is racing horses that are very match-fit so I guess that’s my main worry with him.”
The Heritage Stakes was a major step up for Echo Effect but after extending well after a rough and tumble time in the straight, Buchanan gave the run more than a pass mark.
“He got galloped on pretty badly,” she said.
“We had to send him to the paddock after that.
“That was my intention anyway but he ripped a shoe off and his leg really blew up with quite a bit of bruising to the bone.
“For me it made his run look even better than it was.”
With a good spell under his belt, Buchanan believes he is a calmer horse ahead of his second racing campaign.
“I think this prep will be a lot better for him,” she said.
“I think that he’ll be better over further as long as he handles things like tempo.”