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Picaro on trial for rich NZ assignment

Trainer Gary Portelli is looking across the Tasman with Picaro who makes his debut at Warwick Farm.

Gary Portelli has just one two-year-old in his stable from the Karaka sale but that may be all he needs for a tilt at New Zealand’s richest race.

Picaro will make his debut at Warwick Farm on Saturday with a view to qualifying for the $NZ1 million Karaka Million at Ellerslie on January 28.

Portelli won the world’s richest race for two-year-olds last year when She Will Reign took out the $3.5 million Golden Slipper and he has Secret Lady in the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic at the Gold Coast on January 13.

“Picaro is a very nice horse and he is on trial for the Karaka Million,” Portelli said.

“He is a Pierro gelding and he has shown plenty at home and ran a nice second in a trial at Rosehill.

“I don’t think he’s a Slipper type but if he can get to the Ellerslie race then we would take him.”

Portelli has a 100 per cent strike rate at Ellerslie with his only other runner at the Auckland track, Gold Trail, taking out the 2010 Group One Railway.

Visiting Irish jockey Declan McDonogh will ride Picaro in Saturday’s 2YO Handicap (1200m) while the trainer also has Now Or Never entered but she is more likely to run at Canterbury evening before.

“I’ll probably accept with her in both races in case she draws a bad barrier at Canterbury but that is where she is most likely to go,” Portelli said.

Now Or Never has had one start for fourth in the Listed Gimcrack Stakes in October .

As well as Secret Lady, Portelli is taking Testashadow back to the Gold Coast for the Magic Millions meeting.

Testashadow won last year’s $1 million Cup (1400m) but will step up to 2200m this time around for the Trophy.

Portelli was pleased with Testashadow’s lead-up performance for third, beaten half a length, in the Summer Cup won by Montauk from Red Excitement.

“He will have a barrier trial over 1200 metres at Warwick Farm on Thursday just to keep hm ticking over.” he said.

“I thought he ran well over the 2000. He kept pluggng away to the line.”

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