If anyone tells you Horses by Daryl Braithwaite isn’t Australia’s national anthem they’re a filthy liar

JB is in Virginia hanging out at her pal Matt Cleveland’s place, where she is writing a new book set in horse racing land. Matt is a horse trainer currently training celebri-horse Swift Prince, and so knows a thing or two about such things. His daughter Jill just happens to be the jockey on board so you know there’s that too. Also he’s Mickey Rooney.

Naww. 

Matt is so excited with the Prince’s hot lap that he puts a call in to two of the owners, Catherine Noble and Wally Hampton. They are stoked with the Prince’s time and assure Matt that they will convince the third owner Lloyd Mentone that the hose must race that weekend.

Spoiler alert: this entire episode is basically this:

I don’t understand how Mickey Rooney isn’t playing an old retired jockey actually.

Anyway.

Jess, Matt and Jill head back to Matt’s cottage, while up at the big house Catherine Noble (aka Tippi Hendren) informs her daughter Tracey that Swift Prince will be racing on the weekend. Tracey is delighted, she needs the prize money to fund another 100 guests for her upcoming wedding to Wally’s son Paul. UGH. Catherine tells her the money isn’t going to cover her debts, they are inches away from losing the farm completely, and are counting on Paul approving a bank loan.

That afternoon, Lloyd Mentone is furious to discover that his co-owners have entered the horse in a race when he was focussed on stud fees. Apparently, the horse was recovering from a serious injury and Lloyd thinks it’s a big risk, but he’s overridden. It also turns out that Paul Hampton and Jill once had a thing before he got talked into falling in love with Tracey. Paul looks miserable and later refuses to stay for a drink with his father, who wonders what’s wrong. Paul asks him what he wants, and Wally says for Paul to quit the bank and return to managing the stud, but he’d settle for his audit.

Meanwhile, JB is back at work on her book when she gets a visit from Lloyd, who tells her he grew up watching races from the tower at Saratoga (righto mate) and that he’s concerned about Swift Prince’s race. JB tells him she’s sure Matt and the others know what they’re doing, also the tower at Saratoga wasn’t built when Lloyd was growing up.

Ouch. Burn!

Getting nowhere with JB, Lloyd’s next stop is to see assistant trainer Gus Tardio aka Don Swayze as if you couldn’t tell.

Like Hungry Eyes, except not at all.

Gus is moping because Matt got made head trainer over him. Lloyd orders Gus back to work, and sober since that’s what he’s paying him for. Gus returns back to the stable to find life has pretty much gone on without him and Matt sacks him for being a douche.

Tracey visits Paul at work, where he’s trying to secure her mother’s loan and says she can’t wait until the wedding so he can quit his silly banking job and run the stables. Paul tells her he happens to like his banking job but she says that’s only because his father doesn’t.

Later that night JB is slaving away over her laptop when she hears bangs and crashes from the stable. She rushes to see and finds Matt staggering around after copping a whack on the head. Jill helps him to stand while JB carefully extracts a syringe from a pile of hay. OH YOU GUYS IT’S A NEEDLE IN A HAYSTACK.

While the vet has Swift Prince tested for performance-enhancing drugs, Sheriff Clyde Benson wants to know who might have been behind it. The consensus is Gus, but JB can’t see what his motive is and Wally Hampton agrees. Clyde thinks it’s more likely that one of the horse’s connections might have done it, but he’ll swing by Gus’s and see. Wally begs him to keep it quiet until they know if the horse was actually injected and Clyde says he’s happy to do them a favour as long as it’s within the law.

Alright Clyde, calm down.

The next day Catherine gets a call to say that Swift Prince is all clear, and there was much rejoicing by Tracey and by JB for wildly different reasons. Down at the bank, Paul gets a visit from Lloyd who wants Paul to convince Catherine to scratch the horse from the race, or else some finance peeps are going to find out that Catherine lied on her loan application and Paul approved it. Paul throws him out.

Over at the farm, Catherine confronts Matt (who turns out used to work for her before he worked for Wally) and says she wants a more experienced jockey on the horse because SHE NEEDS THE MONEY OMG WEDDINGS DON’T PAY FOR THEMSELVES AND TRACEY IS A PRINCESS etc etc. Matt tells her it’s in his contract – he trains, he picks the jockey. Later that afternoon he tells JB he has a plan for shaving 3 seconds off Swift Prince’s time and waves a videotape around.

That night, Jill runs into Paul and they go get dinner together. JB finds Matt rushing out the door, telling her he’ll explain later. Jess hears some car doors slam, and gets back to work. As a car drives way, Gus appears out of the bushes, like this but in reverse.

Tracey turns up a while later looking for Paul, but Jess says he’s been gone about an hour so they decide to have dinner together instead. On their way into town, they find Matt’s truck parked on the side of the road, and Matt dead on the ground.

BASTARDS KILLED MICKEY ROONEY THIS WILL NOT STAND.

Clyde comes to the house to take statements, but he’s fairly convinced Matt was killed by a hobo in a robbery gone wrong. Jess thinks this is highly unlikely, and doubly so when Clyde tells her there was no sign of the videotape Matt had been waving around.

After checking in with Catherine, who it turns out was supposed to meet Matt with Wally but he never showed, Jess goes to search Matt’s office for the tape, but it’s gone. She does, however, find the envelope and puts a call in to the offices of Sportrack to find out what Matt had requested. She also finds a notepad, and with the classic pencil rub finds VICTOR WY etched onto the pad. Fun fact, WY apparently means Wyoming. Victor means Victor I guess.

Sportstrack is a surprisingly efficient company, and they deliver another copy of the tape to Jess the next day. She watches it with Jill, but they don’t know why Matt was so interested in it. Catherine and Wally come over and tell Jill they’re getting another jockey for the race.  Down at the bank, Lloyd pops in for a chat with Paul, but Paul tears up Catherine’s loan contract and tells him to do his worst. Paul quits.

Paul is getting his groove back completely, his next stop is to see Catherine but instead, he finds Tracey who accuses him of ignoring her to spend time with Jill, so he calls off the wedding. YOU GO BOYFRIEND.

Drunk on his own power, Paul heads down to the racetrack to wish Catherine and Wally well for the race the following day, but Catherine tells him to go to hell. Paul and Jill watch the substitute jockey fail completely with Swift Prince. Paul tells Jill to let Catherine come to her and to say maybe at least once. Paul, you’re alright.

Meanwhile, Jess is still trying to catch a murderer. She has a chat with Clyde who is convinced Gus is guilty, but when he shows her the wrong piece of paper she suddenly realises why Matt had been so excited the night he died. They rush over to the racetrack just in time to catch Lloyd about to inject Swift Prince, who isn’t Swift Prince at all but a horse called Victor Way that Lloyd swapped so that he could make more money or some such business. Victor Way was going to make money as a stud horse, the real Swift Prince was off making money in South America.

But he didn’t kill Matt.

UNSURPRISED

Trust me on this, it’s got to do with car doors and Tracey running into Matt as he was about to tell her mother and worrying that the scandal would put an end to her wedding.

Whatevs. The important thing is, Jill wins the race on Victory Way and there’s champagne for everyone.

Later gang!

 

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