Trainer Nicky Henderson expects the final decision over Sprinter Sacre's participation in the BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase to be made within the next 10 days.
Henderson has endured a difficult time this season with the current champion, who lost his unbeaten record over fences when he pulled up at Kempton over Christmas with an irregular heartbeat.
It has been a slow, gradual process trying to build him back up and while everything is on target so far, the Seven Barrows handler stressed Sprinter Sacre will not run at the Cheltenham Festival unless he was 100 per cent happy.
Should that be the case, Henderson is convinced he remains the one to beat.
"He either runs in the Champion Chase or we put him away for next season," Henderson told BetRacingNation TV.
"He worked on Wednesday and I was pleased with him. He wears a heart monitor in all his work and he's wired up to Newmarket. I have the results back within an hour, it's all perfectly OK.
"We've got work to do and I would think it will be another 10 days before we finally make the decision.
"He could go to Kempton on Friday week or even Newbury (next) weekend as I wouldn't mind him jumping some fences on a racecourse.
"Captain Conan is in good order and I think he will finish up running in the Champion Chase whether Sprinter is there or not, and Kid Cassidy will almost certainly run in it, too, so we might be three-handed.
"Sprinter will only run if he is back to what we consider his very best. If he is, to be fair, unless I get this wrong, he is the one they all have to beat.
"It will be difficult to beat him if he is back and if he's not back I won't run him."