Ben Pauling is monitoring the weather forecast for his main Cheltenham Festival contender Global Citizen.

The eight-year-old is due to run in the Racing Post Arkle Chase on March 10, his first race at Grade One level since disappointing in last year’s Champion Hurdle.

Up to two inches of rain is expected to hit Cheltenham before the big meeting of the season, which officials confirmed should go ahead as normal despite concerns about coronavirus in the UK.

The going is expected to be soft, as it has been for much of the season, as the tapes rise on Champion Day.

"If it got very soft, I would maybe swerve it and head to Aintree," Pauling has warned about 14/1 shot Global Citizen.

Ben Pauling

The son of Alkaadhem won the Grade Two Ladbrokes Wayward Lad Novices' Chase at Kempton over Christmas, form that has been franked by the runner-up Rouge Vif.

His trainer Harry Whittington is looking forward to the rematch in less than two weeks' time.

"My horse has improved with every run and had a wind op after he finished fourth here in December," he said.

Global Citizen (David Bass) winning the Ladbrokes Wayward Lad Novices' Chase at Kempton on December 27, 2019

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"They always say the second run back after a wind op is the better run and he won the Kingmaker well.

"I don't plan on doing any fast work with him now and he will just tick over until the Arkle."

The betting for the novice event on the Tuesday is headed by Henry De Bromhead's Notebook, who will wear earplugs to try and conserve his energy ahead of the race.