Ground assault takes Artillery

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Cool Ground claimed his first success since winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup three years ago in the Royal Artillery Gold Cup at Sandown yesterday.

The oldest runner in the field at 13, he was sufficiently impressive in winning by four lengths to earn a place in the rather more demanding arena of Aintree for the Grand National. His odds for that race stand at 66-1 after this success under Dominic Alers-Hankey.

Leased by his owner, Peter Bolton, to former gunner Don Churston -owners must have served in the Royal Artillery to qualify for this race -the horse may carry yet another set of colours in the National.

"Leasing is a great idea," Churston said. "But I wouldn't be interested in the Grand National, having owned a bit of Earthstopper when he collapsed and died at Aintree."

Two horses with rather less experience over fences than Cool Ground, King Credo and Oatis Regrets, also found the winner's enclosure after making rather shaky starts to their careers over the larger obstacles.

"Oatis Regrets's confidence was shattered when he fell at Kempton on Boxing Day and it has taken two races to get it back," Henrietta Knight, his trainer, said of the horse that completed a double for Jamie Osborne initiated by Leotard.