Robbie Power: bizarre Townend incident was just human error
Robbie Power has labelled Paul Townend's bizarre move at the end of Punchestown's Growise Champion Novice Chase as "just human error" and claimed there are no hard feelings between the pair.
Power and his mount Finian's Oscar were carried out before the final fence when challenging in the chaotic conclusion to the Grade 1 contest after Townend dramatically steered leader Al Boum Photo right, appearing to believe he was required to bypass the last obstacle.
Townend was given a 21-day ban by Punchestown stewards for dangerous riding and forfeited his riding fee. He has yet to comment on the incident, but was reported to be extremely upset.
Willie Mullins, trainer of Al Boum Photo, and Power were also not prepared to comment on Tuesday, but Power took to Twitter on Wednesday morning to offer support to his weighing room colleague.
"It's taken me a few hours to calm down from that very unfortunate incident at Punchestown with Paul Townend," he wrote. "Nobody feels worse than him, just human error #nohardfeelings #brilliantjockey."
Power added on his BoyleSports blog on Wednesday: “For some reason Paul thought we were bypassing the final fence and he’s made the manoeuvre. He’s just had a brain freeze. There are no issues with the track, it’s just one of those unfortunate incidents and we need to put it all behind us.
"Paul is a top-class jockey and he may take some picking up this morning, but he’s a thorough professional and hopefully he’ll be back to riding Grade 1 winners this week.”
Finian’s Oscar was denied the chance to add his Grade 1 win at Aintree and Power said: “He definitely would have put it up to Al Boum Photo, there’s no doubt about it.
“He’d made a slight mistake at the second-last but he was just starting to rally. I knew by the way he came home at Aintree he would have stayed galloping and he definitely would have gone close.”
The Storyteller was the lucky beneficiary of the bizarre incident and led home a 1-2-3-5 for Gordon Elliott, who tightened his grip on the Irish trainers' championship.
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