Bubbles On Track For Emotional Bendigo Win

ASPIRING young trainer Ned McDonald is confident that the talented Bubbles can claim another emotion-charged victory at Bendigo on Friday night.

Adam Dobbin

2 July 2020

ASPIRING young trainer Ned McDonald is confident that the talented Bubbles can claim another emotion-charged victory at Bendigo on Friday night.

And if he does, McDonald says it’ll be in no small part to some extra help from up above.

“He wants the eight and he’s drawn it at all three starts for me – someone is looking out for us up there,” said McDonald.

The help from above that 19-year-old McDonald speaks of is that of revered industry stalwart Karen Leek who was tragically killed at her Devon Meadows home in late May.

Before her passing, Leek trained Bubbles to 11 racetrack victories, many of which at Sandown and The Meadows.

“Karen absolutely loved her greyhounds and Bubbles was no different … she was like his mum,” McDonald said.

“Karen’s property was his home from the day he was born right the way through. And she treated the dogs like they were her kids. She adored them.”

Following Leek’s heartbreaking passing, McDonald says it was a chance discussion that resulted in the son of Kinloch Brae making his way to his Pearcedale kennels.

“I was at the property one day after Karen’s passing and just asked what was happening with Bubbles,” McDonald said.

“One thing led to another and I got offered him to train by the family. I had worked at Karen’s as a kid and learnt so much from her so to be given the chance to train him for the family was a privilege.”

After finishing a polished third for McDonald at Ballarat first up, Bubbles landed an emotional victory at Bendigo on Sunday, winning a heat of the Mannings Greyhound Complex Series (500m) in 28.33.

“I don’t usually get excited behind the boxes but when I saw him get to the front I started to get pretty emotional,” McDonald said.

“And being able to call the family on the way home to lift their spirits meant a lot as well. There was a lot of positive energy … the win meant quite a lot to them.”

Considered one of the major players for the $3,000-to-the-winner final, McDonald is hopeful that a slight change in routine will pay dividends come Friday night.

“I took him back to (the late) Karen’s yesterday (Wednesday) for a free gallop,” McDonald said.

“It was the first time he’d been home since he left and you could just see how happy he was when I got him out of the car. I could barely hold him.

“When I first got him you could just see for the first week or two he was a bit down in the dumps not seeing Karen each day and being away from home.

“But he’s settled in great now and hopefully on Friday night he can run another really good race. To win on a big night and remember Karen would mean a lot to everyone.”