Sunset Community Kitchen representatives Maree Thompson, Maxine Maney and Lorenza McMahon were at Tara Raceway on Thursday for the culmination of Kevin “KD” Douglas’s “Catch for Cash” initiative.
This took the form of the Sunset Community Kitchen final (512 metres), heats of which had been run the previous week, along with a presentation to winning connections and a cheque for the local charity which provides meals for people in need on Monday and Wednesday evenings.
It’s probably fair to say that no one really expected the “Catch for Cash” initiative to take off like it did. All told, after the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club added $500, the ladies from the Sunset Kitchen gratefully accepted a cheque for $2060.
And as if Douglas hadn’t done enough, he also donated a trophy, valued at $400, to the winning connections.
Allendale East trainer David Peckham provided two finalists in the form of Angelo’s Entity and Midnight Daisy, both heat winners from the previous week. And for good measure the leading trainer also had Venus And Mars warming the bench for him.
Venus And Mars, originally from WA, had drawn box one in the previous race but after being scratched Peckham had been contacted by her Adelaide owner, Jason Churchman, querying what had gone wrong.
As it turned out, nothing, except there had been a scratching in the Sunset Community Kitchen race and Churchman’s black bitch was going to jump from box three in the final.
And the well-bred daughter of Kinloch Brae x West On Delly went into the grade five final with pretty fair credentials for a reserve runner – 80 starts for nine wins, 32 minor placings and more than $70,000 in stakemoney.
In fact, back in April Venus And Mars had beaten subsequent Mount Gambier Cup winner Sunset Milo over 520 metres at Cannington.
In Peckham’s kennels since October, Venus And Mars was having only her third start for the leading local trainer when quickly finding the front in the final and then holding out kennelmate Angelo’s Entity for a narrow win in 30.17 seconds.
Churchman had purchased her from Linda Britton and Chris Halse, of WA, primarily with breeding in mind, especially with her granddam Winsome Bluebird being a litter sister to the champion stayer Miata.
Finding her way to Adelaide in August, Venus and Mars was successful at Gawler over 530 metres, after which it had been suggested that she be retired from racing in readiness for breeding.
Peckham and Churchman’s paths crossed when the owner was looking for someone to later whelp her litter, the trainer querying why the bitch couldn’t continue to race until such time as she came in season and he would then whelp down the litter.
Involved in the sport as a breeder-owner for four years, Churchman has a Fernando Bale straw lined up for Venus And Mars.
Previously, with breeding in mind, he had purchased Pepperfied (Spiral Nikita x West On Bluebird) from Britton and Halse. She whelped two dogs and two bitches to Kinloch Brae in September last year.