Paul Townend apologises for 'genuine mistake' as explanation for Punchestown error is released
Paul Townend says confusion over whether he needed to bypass the last fence is what caused the collision that took out both Al Boum Photo and Finian's Oscar in a frantic finale to the Growise Champion Novice Steeplechase at Punchestown yesterday.
Townend's mount was in firm contention approaching the last, before he veered to the right, colliding with Robbie Power aboard Finian's Oscar. Both horses fell, allowing Gordon Elliott's The Storyteller, ridden by Davy Russell, to snatch an unlikely win.
Townend was subsequently hit with a 21-day ban and today, the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board have issued a statement outlining the evidence he gave following the bizarre incident.
The statement says: 'In his evidence, Paul Townend said that he was riding with his head down between the last two fences and head roaring on his left which caught his attention.
"He thought he had to bypass the fence but didn't know which side to bypass on. He panicked and commenced his move to bypass the fence on the right side but then realised there was nothing on the fence to indicate a bypass was needed and tried to correct his actions but it was too late.
"He accepted in hindsight that there were no bypass procedures in place. He said he made a genuine mistake and apologised for what occurred."
Townend has also apologised to fans in a statement released to the Racing Post.
"I thought I head a shout and that the last fence was being bypassed. It was a split-second reaction. I wish to apologise to connections and punters. I'd like to leave this behind me and move on with today's rides."