‘Galo halo’ glowing at Healesville

Pampered GAP retiree Peter Galo enjoys the ‘life of Riley’, living in luxury on a 60-acre property at Ouyen.

But during his racing heyday, Peter Galo was a Healesville cult idol.

He amassed an incredible 47 victories – 24 at Healesville – and at one stage looked like he’d press his ‘uncle’, Stagger, for the Victorian wins record of 64.

Peter Galo’s biggest win at Healesville was the 2019 Listed National Straight Track Championship on August 18 – establishing a new and still existing 350m track record (18.65sec).

And three years later a ‘Galo halo’ radiates again for his Devon Meadows trainer, Garry Selkrig.

The aura surrounds Shima Punga and Shima Sheen which contest the $15,250 Victorian Straight Track Championship final (350m) at Healesville on Sunday.

At stake is a $10,000 first prize, plus the first two placegetters will qualify for the $25,000 to-the-winner National Grand Final to be conducted at Richmond (NSW) on Saturday, August 27.

Last week, Shima Punga finished second to fastest qualifier Quinlan Bale while Shima Sheen was second to Nicolson Bale – both prepared by Avalon’s Daniel Gibbons.

“He’s a reliable beginner and he’s drawn where he wants to be in
the ‘black’.”

A third trainer with dual finalists is Seymour’s James Shaw, who’ll rug Master Ogilvie and Crabby Yabby.

Half-brothers Shima Punga (44 starts for 10 wins) and Shima Sheen (13 from 35, including 7 from 12 on this trk/dst) are also closely related to former superstar Shima Shine.

Back in May, Shima Sheen was a Healesville Derby finalist and a month later he dead heated for second in the Healesville Puppy Championship.

Owned by Selkrig’s wife, Panthong, Shima Sheen was purchased in February for $12,000 as an ongoing racing proposition. He’s since won 11 races, with six seconds, from 23 starts.

Selkrig rates Shima Sheen as his “main chance” in Sunday’s final.

“He’s a reliable beginner and he’s drawn where he wants to be in the ‘black’ (Box 7). It’ll be hard to win, but I’m leaning towards him.”

However, Selkrig added: “It wouldn’t surprise me if Shima Punga won. He’ll go straight from the ‘yellow’ (Box 5), but anything can happen with him. He needs things to go his own way.”

But back to Peter Galo for some superlatives Selkrig has previously provided on what the “Healesville Hurricane” meant to him during his race career.

“He’s a beauty, a pleasure to train.”

A real character of the sport, Selkrig also quipped: “He brings food to the table, pays the electric light bill, and keeps us going.”

He added: “Age is just a number, and he looks good for his age.

“Another year of racing, that’s the plan… And then I can head to Thailand for a long-overdue holiday with my wife and relax on a beach.”

So, did the Selkrigs ever take that belated Southeast Asian holiday?

“COVID restrictions stopped us in our tracks,” Selkrig said. “But it’s still on the cards – Thailand, or possibly Las Vegas, by the end of the year.”

Pawnote: The Victorian Straight Track Championship series opened Healesville’s Festival of Racing, which also features The Arrow match race series (August 21), the Highway 31 Maiden Challenge (heats, August 21) and culminates with the G2 Healesville Cup (heats, September 4).

WATCH: SHIMA SHEEN (B6) ‘gleams’ in a Healesville Puppy Championship heat in June.

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