Sunday 27 May 2018

Watch: 'He's had an absolute moment' - Drama at Punchestown as Paul Townend handed a 21-day ban for howler

Al Bourm Photo ridden by Jockey Paul Townend (right) collides with Finian's Oscar ridden by Jockey Robbie Power (left) during day one of the Punchestown Festival 2018 at Punchestown Racecourse, County Kildare.
Al Bourm Photo ridden by Jockey Paul Townend (right) collides with Finian's Oscar ridden by Jockey Robbie Power (left) during day one of the Punchestown Festival 2018 at Punchestown Racecourse, County Kildare.
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

The Storyteller claimed victory in a dramatic renewal of the Growise Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown.

A field of 11 went to post for the three-mile Grade One, with title-chasing trainers Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott saddling three and five runners respectively.

Mullins looked in a strong position rounding the home turn, with Invitation Only and Al Boum Photo both in contention either side of Henry de Bromhead's 2-1 favourite Monalee.

However, few could have envisaged what would happen next.

Monalee took a crashing fall two fences from home, badly hampering Invitation Only, who unshipped David Mullins.

That incident left Al Boum Photo in command before jockey Paul Townend tried to manoeuvre his mount across the track, and in doing so ended up taking both himself and Finian's Oscar out of the race.

The Storyteller, who won a handicap at last month's Cheltenham Festival, was left in front in the hands of Davy Russell and galloped on to lead home a one-two-three for Elliott, with Monbeg Notorious and Jury Duty finishing second and third respectively.

Townend was handed a 21-day ban for dangerous riding. He has also been ordered to forfeit his riding fee.

"He's had an absolute moment," former jockey Mick Fitzgerald told Attheraces.

"Paul Townend is a person. He has made a mistake and he'll feel horrendous. 21 days is a punishment but what's happened to him will last an awful lot longer than that, I can assure you"

"I think Paul Townend thinks he needs to bypass the last. I don't know why he thought that. I don't know what happened," Ruby Walsh told RTE Sport.

Elliott said: "I don't what happened. We got a bit of luck on our side and we needed it with the way the day started off.

"I don't know what happened to Paul Townend, it all happened that quick. I was standing at the last and when I saw Paul going I wasn't sure if it had been bypassed.

"It worked out great for me so I can't complain.

"He's won a Grade One now and won at Cheltenham."

Watch below:

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