Townend banned for dangerous riding after dramatic Punchestown finish

• Jockey steered mount round final fence when in the lead
• Rider refuses to explain move after stewards’ punishment

A raceday that was merely tense and exciting at Punchestown became submerged by inexplicable drama when the jockey Paul Townend took the wrong course aboard Al Boum Photo in the Champion Novice Chase, victory having seemed in his grasp.

It was an astonishing aberration from a former champion jump jockey, one that will live long in racing memory and which may have cost Townend’s main employer, Willie Mullins, his title as the champion trainer.

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