While the nation was settling down to dinner last night, one of the maddest horse races ever seen was happening at Day 1 of the Punchestown Festival.
The Grade 1 Growise Champion Novice Chase, one of the biggest races of the day, was already looking to be a thrilling race when Monalee and Invitation Only came down at the second last fence.
It was from there that chaos ensued, as jockey Paul Townend, on board Al Boum Photo, inexplicably stood up, looked behind him, before veering wildly to the right, and into Finians Oscar, who had Robbie Power on board.
Drama doesn't quite cover this - The Storyteller somehow comes out on top in the Grade 1 Growise Champion Novice Chase. Absolutely unbelievable... pic.twitter.com/Ga6BwfYRad
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) April 24, 2018
The insane outcome resulted in, thankfully, no serious injuries, but did create a lot of confusion and outrage among racegoers and
Stewards quickly suspended Townend for 21 days for dangerous riding, a relatively steep ban by racing standards, but refused to offer an explanation as to why.
Just why Townend had acted the way he did was later explained in The Guardian who claim the jockey heard a late shout to boycott the last fence, though no such call was made.
Racing fans were quick to anger last night, presuming the worst of Townend and were very quick to offer their theories on social media.
This morning though, Robbie "Puppy" Power, the jockey who was the victim of Townend's reckless riding, has done a lot to pour cold water on the situation.
It's taken me a few hours to calm down from that very unfortunate incident yesterday @punchestownrace with Paul Townend.
Nobody feels worse than him, just human error. #nohardfeelings #brillliantjockey pic.twitter.com/0Qf7UX3Bvl
— Robbie "Puppy" Power (@Robbie_Power_) April 25, 2018
While Power was visibly angry at the time, his acknowledgment of this being an honest and rare mistake by Townend is very welcome, and a classy move, which should dampen some of the wild rhetoric being aimed at the jockey since the race.