Victorian star Peter Galo confirmed himself as Australia’s best straight-course sprinter on Sunday afternoon with a track record-breaking victory in the inaugural SEN National Straight Track Championship (350m) at Healesville.
While track specialist Peter Galo started a short-priced favourite, jubilant trainer Garry Selkrig left nothing to chance by bringing a lucky charm trackside; his former prolific iron-dog Stagger.
“Stagger had 64 wins and it’s his birthday today,” Selkrig explained.
“The last time I brought Stagger to the track, Peter Galo won the Shepparton Cup on his birthday, the 18th of August, and today he’s won the Nationals. That’s why we brought him!
“Stagger’s got a chocolate cake in the car so it’s all worked out perfectly.”
The first ever Group Listed National Championship saw the best straight-track speedsters from Victoria, South Australia and Queensland do battle for a $35,000 purse, as part of the lucrative Healesville Cup Carnival.
After winning the previous Sunday’s Victorian State Final in 19.09s, Peter Galo, a son of Peter Rocket and Flossy, started $2.10 favourite in the Championship from box five ahead of Victoria’s other representative Myrniong And All at $3.40.
The middle alley proved to be no concern whatsoever as Peter Galo was best to begin and showed his rivals a clean pair of heels, trouncing well-backed Queenslander Certification ($6.20) by four lengths, with Myrniong And All third.
Peter Galo’s scintillating time of 18.65s eclipsed Eye Got It’s previous track record of 18.68s and improved the winner’s sensational Healesville 350m record to 15 from 21, while he’s undefeated in two 300m assignments.
“I’m over the moon and I think I might stay there,” quipped Selkrig.
“I wasn’t surprised (about the track record) at all. It was always going to be.
“The wind was there and that probably helped us a bit. It’s all in the hands of the gods. They probably said he deserves a track record today so the gods provided the wind and he provided the record.
“I don’t know what makes him so good. He’s just a freak.
“Him mum, Flossy, probably. He’s just like everyone else in the kennel, he eats the same, does the same things. There’s nothing special about how he’s trained. I’m just a trainer – I’m no special trainer – so it’s in the hands of the gods.
“The gods just said Garry it’s time you had a good dog and they gave me him. That’s all I can say.”
Peter Galo will return to Healesville for the heats of the Group 2 Healesville Cup on September 1 and while he’s developed a reputation as a straight-track phenomenon, Selkrig is also eyeing off the Group 1 Melbourne Cup.
“He’s had major issues with injuries and major injuries too, not minor injuries, so I’ve just kept him at Healesville,” Selkrig said.
“People say why don’t you go over 500 but why go over there when I can make $82,000 at Healesville in the next week or two and then we’ll go for the Melbourne Cup.
“He can go around the circle. He’s proved that. He’s won heaps of races around the circle in fast times.”
VIDEO INTERVIEWS & REPLAY
Garry Selkrig on Peter Galo’s 2019 National Straight Track Championship victory.
Video replay of Peter Galo’s winning gallop during the 2019 National Straight Track Championship.
Cynthia O’Brien on the National Straight Track Championship concept.