Synopsis: Claire McLeod prepares for the campdrafting competition that would decide who Australian Bloodlines would grant the quarter horse-breeding contract to. However, she becomes distracted with jealousy over her sister’s newfound relationship with her best mate Alex Ryan who by the way is also her competitor. Meanwhile, Jodi Fountain decides to apply for a nomination to the Ms. Gungellan quest.
Episode Summary: Claire McLeod (Lisa Chappell) is up early, hard at work preparing for Australian Bloodlines’ trainer selection. She is up against Alex Ryan who is still in bed with Tess. This upsets Claire more than one way with the real reason being her jealousy at her sister’s relationship with her best mate, Alex. Though Claire would not be caught with an admission of guilt, Tess had sensed that her newfound relationship with Alex might have caused her sister to hand her a check that would jumpstart her dream café in the city. Seeing Tess and Alex together upsets Claire more and more that she no longer masks her intention of getting rid of her sister. She uses Tess’ dream café as a viable reason for her to leave Drovers Run, and adds that she can manage running it and fulfilling her own dream of setting up a horse breeding program without her help.
The contract with Australian Bloodlines is the first step to reaching Claire’s dream. Unfortunately for her, the person assigned to select the trainer is Peter Johnson (Rodger Corser). Claire McLeod first met Peter at an AI conference in Fisher, and their first meeting was not what one would call cordial. The beginning of their second is not pleasant either. Claire recognizing the man as the one she had trouble with months back, lashes at him thinking that he has come to collect payment for damages made on his car. She had to swallow her embarrassment upon learning that Peter is Australian Bloodlines’ assessor.
Alex Ryan who once again is spending the night with Tess could not help but roll with laughter upon hearing about the incident with Claire and Peter. It was a stunt that Alex pulled with him knowing full well who the assessor is, and not saying a word to his competition. Still not admitting that Claire is the better trainer, he argues that his little ploy was necessary to level the playing field given that a woman could use her charms to trick a man into handing a contract to a broad. Alex’ laughter fills the otherwise silent house. Already annoyed at having to hear the frolicking couple, Claire marches up the stairs riled. To add to her annoyance, she finds that the man had once again broken the light switch. Standing right in front of her sister’s bedroom door as it opens, Claire tries to avoid being caught eavesdropping on her sister and her boyfriend. She quickly takes two steps back, and slips down the staircase. With a seriously busted knee, Alex had to carry Claire to her bed -- her annoyance now at full swing.
Alex returns to Killarney with news of Claire’s injury. This pleases Harry Ryan, which disgusts Alex who despite his previous antic wants to win the quarter horse breeding contract fair and square. Harry believes that Australian Bloodlines handing the contract to Killarney might help convince Claire to merge Drovers Run with their property. This is the least of Liz Ryan’s concerns. Keeping up with the pretense of Wilgul being part of the Ryan’s empire, Nick has decided to work on developing the property full-time with him moving out of Killarney. This saddens his mother who hates to see him go, and seeing Tess and Alex’ developing relationship dampens her mood even more.
With Claire recuperating from her knee injury, Jodi is left to train Blaise, while Tess tries to help out her sister the only way she can – exhaust Alex Ryan’s energy. Tess has a lot to learn about country boys. The women of Drovers Run watch as Alex Ryan campdraft at his best. Tess Silverman (Bridie Carter) who had convinced herself that their relentless lovemaking the night before would have drained all of the man’s energy watches in disbelief as Alex works the cattle without breaking a sweat. Seeing her competitor’s superb performance, injured Claire has lost hope at winning the contract.
Meanwhile, Meg and Jodi Fountain (Rachael Carpani) busy themselves with the Ms. Gungellan interview with Liz Ryan. Meg is on her hands and knees making the homestead sparkly clean for the arrival of Mrs. Ryan. Jodi, on the other hand, is at the cottage trying on various dresses to wear for her interview. Much to her surprise, Liz arrives early, and holds the interview at the disorderly cottage. Imagine Meg’s surprise when she comes running to the cottage with rubber gloves still on, and sees that the talk was already on its way. Clearly disappointed at blowing off the chance of becoming Ms. Gungellan, Jodi tries her very best to show that she couldn’t care less about the quest.
Convinced that Claire McLeod could prove that she is the better trainer if only given the chance, Tess comes up with another plan. She invites Peter Johnson to Drovers Run for dinner. Taking on Alex’ concern on losing the contract over a woman’s show of cleavage, and batting eyelashes, Tess plans on impressing Peter with their sensuality enough for him to grant Claire enough time to recuperate from her injury. With her dream on the line, Claire McLeod goes along with her sister’s crazy plan. Drovers Run’s power outage added more to the night’s allure not that it needed more as the sight of Claire in a plunging, little black dress was enough to make the man’s jaw drop. However, their first meeting remains burned in Peter Johnson’s mind. The tension between the two had once again tightened at the remembrance of Claire’s disparagement of him at the conference at Fisher. The dinner would have been a failure if Tess had not brought up Claire’s first horse training experience.
Tess tends to the dishes, and leaves her sister to tell Peter about how she trained her father’s horse Calypso when she was just thirteen. Young as then, Claire knew a lot about training horses than most people. Even then, she already was against the use of ropes, and the harsh treatment that comes with breaking-in a wild horse. With much genuine passion, Claire tells Peter the strategy she used for the horse whose personality she understood so well. Calypso, the gorgeous, temperamental, chestnut mare, gradually warmed up to Claire unable to stand how she pretended to ignore her, and the piece of apple she had in her hand. The story appeared to have made Peter see Claire on a different light, and the tension between them seemed to have magically disappeared.
With Claire McLeod’s severely injured knee, she is clearly unfit to ride a horse. She swallows up her pride, and asks Peter Johnson if Jodi could ride in her place. Unfortunately, his instructions are to watch the horse with its trainer, and a substitute would just not be right. Leave it to Alex Ryan to help convince the man to bend the rules a bit for Claire. Alex may be competitive, but it is not in his nature to win a lop-sided battle. And so, Jodi Fountain saddles up to ride with Blaise, and win for Claire the quarter horse breeding contract with Australian Bloodlines. Jodi gets off on a good start, but her inexperience and nerves get the better of her when she loses control of the beast.
Knowing the unmistakable advantage they have over the McLeod’s, Liz Ryan has already prepared a small celebration at Killarney. The women of Drovers Run, except for Jodi, tries very hard to put up a face despite the undeniable dissatisfaction at having lost the contract. Liz finds Jodi in tears. After noticing how Meg and Harry have been putting in the good word on the young woman to convince her to give Jodi a spot at the pageant, Liz mistakes her grief as a result of having lost a spot in the Ms. Gungellan quest. It was Becky, by the way, who had tried to talk Harry into endorsing Jodi to his wife. Liz is pleasantly surprised upon learning that her lament comes from her unsatisfactory performance that cost the horse-breeding contract with Drovers Run and Australian Bloodlines. Jodi knows how much that meant to Claire. Liz Ryan sees new light on the person whom she thought to be a sweet, but shallow young woman. Given this, she wastes no time to announce that she accepts Jodi Fountain’s nomination to compete for the crown of Ms. Gungellan.
The women of Drovers Run return home both triumphant and defeated. Claire McLeod finds comfort with the company of her horse, Blaise. Peter Johnson drops by, and finds her exactly where he knows she would be, at the stables by her prized mare. He brings with him a bottle of wine, and the surprising announcement of granting her Australian Bloodlines’ training contract. Somehow, Peter Johnson finds Claire McLeod to be the better trainer despite not being able to ride. Claire, in disbelief, gladly accepts the good news, and the bottle of wine. She finds her sister to share with her the news only to find her struggling with the power box after Drovers Run has once again experiences a power outage. Before Claire could utter a single word, Tess tells her of the decision she made, which is to put her money back to Drovers Run. Claire accepts without any arguments, and without further ado lets it known that she was granted the contract. The sisters laugh upon realizing that the show of cleavage really worked to their advantage.
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