Paul Townend repays Al Boum Photo’s owners in gold for mistake | Chris Cook

Gold Cup-winning jockey had taken wrong course when heading for victory in a race at Punchestown last April

In the hard-nosed, results-driven world of horse racing jockeys who make a mistake cannot always count on getting the chance to redeem themselves. Paul Townend, by contrast, was generously supported after throwing away a victory on Al Boum Photo in extraordinary fashion last year and on Friday he seized the chance of a victory so glorious as to ensure past sins were forgiven and forgotten.

“To repay them with a Gold Cup is the best feeling in the world,” said the 28-year-old jockey, who cannot have had high hopes of such a deliriously happy outcome. Al Boum Photo was the third string of the trainer Willie Mullins, according to the betting; but he is still a young, improving horse and perhaps that memory of the top-class novice chase they should have won last April was what made Townend pick the rangy bay as his ride in this race after Ruby Walsh took the supposedly plum mount on Bellshill.

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