It's summer, Royal Ascot, and life is good for young trainer Simon Waterford.
He has inherited his father's top-class yard, his brilliant two-year-old has just won the Coventry Stakes and he is soon to marry his beautiful half-Brazilian girlfriend.
But Mariana has a secret which would wreck her hopes of marriage - and which Geoff has found out. And he has threatened to tell Simon. On their way back from the races, two rough-looking young men pass lewd comments about Mariana.
There's not much of a brawl - it's over too quickly and is hardly even-handed - but it leaves Mariana in a sea of blood tending to Simon's wounded face and Geoff lies dead on the floor.
It's a tragedy, of course, but Mariana can't help but feel relieved.
Her secret is safe, for now...