SEDGEFIELD specialist Over Zealous (2.20) has a great chance of notching a third course and distance success in the Alan Merrigan Memorial Chase this afternoon.

Forecast rain has forced officials to hold an inspection at 7.30am, but if it does pass muster Over Zealous could easily pay the day's expenses, even though he has to shoulder top-weight in the three-mile-three-furlong contest.

John Upson's game chestnut is not the fastest beast on four legs, but as he demonstrated with a gritty success at Warwick recently, stamina is his strong suit.

Sheer staying power is going to be a vital factor with only two or three horses likely to get round.

The testing conditions will also be right up the street of another top-weight, First Light (2.50), in the Harry Lane Memorial Handicap Hurdle.

He's also shown a distinct preference for the track in the past and all credit to trainer John Quinn because the ten-year-old has yet to finish out of the frame this term.

First Light's best run undoubtedly came at Wetherby in December, when he trounced Dan de Man by six lengths.

Brian Ellison has Cheltenham in mind for Batswing (3.20), fancied to complete his hat-trick in the Scotchhills Holsteins Novices Chase.

This fellow has been a revelation since switching to fences, rattling off an impressive double at Musselburgh. He appears to be an extremely versatile sort, having won the ultra-competitive November Handicap at Doncaster on the level not so long ago.

There's not much of Harry Hooly to look at, but what he lacks in stature he more than makes up for in the heart department.

The seven-year-old goes well for his young 7lb claiming jockey, Laura Hislop, the combination coming from the clouds to snatch victory over track and trip last month.

There's not too much to get excited about at Folkestone, although on the pick of his form Pace Stalker (3.30) should be good enough to collect the Gay Record Challenge Trophy.

Poor Gary Moore must be gnashing his teeth over the selection, who looked as if he was going places when sluicing up over fences last season.

Pace Stalker has not gone the right way since, but at only six he still has time to get back on the straight and narrow, especially as he has a massive 11lb pull at the weights with Castle Prince compared to their clash at the course in January