Trainer Bruce Hartley and his long-suffering wife Marianna hope for success in the Causton Gold Cup with the thoroughbred Bantling Boy. Bruce is one of four Midsomer villagers who own the horse in a syndicate.
At Bantling Hall, Bruce's aristocratic mother Angela Hartley (Caroline Blakiston) and her simpleton brother Geoffrey look after nine-year-old Peter Craxton, son of local blacksmith Ray and his wife Joanna, another of the syndicate. Peter and Geoffrey spend hours playing computer war games and re-enacting battles.
Barnaby, Joyce and Cully are at the races, too, supporting Fallowfields, a horse and pony rescue centre. Joyce is delighted when Bantling Boy romps home, but the celebrations are marred by a fracas between Bruce and millionaire race sponsor Sam Tate, who is desperate to buy the horse.
Joanna and the wheelchair-bound Trevor Machin want to cash in on the success, but Bruce and the fourth owner Dr John Osgood refuse to part with the horse. It was left to them by Bruce's late father and Bruce vows to expose the secret behind their legacy if they sell. But in the stables later, Bruce is murdered with a hammer.
Barnaby and Scott discover that the remaining syndicate members stand to inherit Bruce's share. And Trevor Machin reveals that Marianna was having an affair with Dr Osgood.
Bruce's head stable lad and jockey Jake Foley has disappeared but Scott catches him when he is left guarding the horse overnight. Bantling Boy is off-colour so Barnaby suggests moving him to Fallowfields. Osgood still refuses to sell to Tate and that night he is beaten to death and gagged with a triangular white cloth.
Bantling Hall plays host to a medieval jousting tournament and Trevor Machin is the next to die. Barnaby believes the gags show the victims are being silenced. What is the syndicate's secret, and will Joanna escape the killer? The answer seems to lie in the troubled family history of the Bantlings.
The medieval adventure game used in this episode was created by Wrexham based Octane Digital Studios. Patrict Mount, who founded the company was thrilled to see his work on T.V. The sound effect of swords clashing was actually created by banging two large spoons together and recorded in his kitchen!
With thanks to
for the photo
PAGE UPDATED ON 4TH OCTOBER 2005
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