Echo Effect back in the running

Echo Effect is finally able to put his best foot forward, but the question remains in which direction it will point.

The three-year-old gelding's long-awaited next move now a hoof abscess has cleared up will be clarified on Thursday with trainer Kristen Buchanan, Echo Effect's owners and the weather over Kembla Grange all to have a say.

Echo Effect is an acceptor for the $150,000 Provincial Championships Qualifier (1400m) at Kembla Grange on Thursday with Saturday's Group Three $150,000 Doncaster Prelude (1500m) at Rosehill the other option.

"The Provincial series looks lovely for him," Buchanan said.

"He does very well at the weights considering his rating but the owners' dream right from the start was the Guineas and the Doncaster this year so we've got to weigh things up," Buchanan said.

A continuation of NSW's damp autumn might make the decision easier with Kembla Grange already a heavy 10 with up to 20mm expected on race day.

"We'll leave it right down to the wire. I don't know what they're going to do at Kembla. The heat could be relocated somewhere else," Buchanan said.

Buchanan is just relieved Echo Effect is cleared to race after the hoof injury forced him out of the Group One Randwick Guineas on March 4 and the Phar Lap Stakes at Rosehill a week later.

"It's just been the worst timing but you've got to keep things in perspective. It's just a bruise to the foot.

"We've just been very cautious with him. We weren't going to take any risks with him if he wasn't a hundred per cent."

Buchanan had hoped Echo Effect would give her a first Group One win in the Randwick Guineas, but now the $3 million Doncaster Mile at Randwick on April 1 could fulfil that ambition if he runs in - and wins - the Prelude.

"He'll have to win the Prelude. He's 68 in the order of entry for the Mile," Buchanan said.

Although Echo Effect has not raced since his second to Man From Uncle in the Group Two Hobartville Stakes at Rosehill on February 18, Buchanan says he is fit and heavy tracks are no impediment.

"He loves a heavy track," she said.

"Fitness will definitely be a factor but we've been able to maintain his condition well enough," she said.

Buchanan said there was no concern about Echo Effect being able to recover in time for the Doncaster Mile if that scenario played out.

"I don't think it'll be tough to back up to be honest."

By Chris Barclay

SYDNEY, March 21 AAP