The future of chasing legend Kauto Star will be decided in the next four to six weeks, according to his owner Clive Smith.
Retirement is an option for the 12-year-old, but he could yet stay in training and attempt to land an incredible sixth King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day.
The 12-year-old was last seen being pulled up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March having suffered a fall in training in the build-up.
Smith and trainer Paul Nicholls have been keen to defer any decision about retirement until after the summer, and that remains the case after the five-time King George and dual Gold Cup winner paraded at the annual owners' day at his Ditcheat base.
Smith told the Daily Mail: "The idea is to see where we are in a month to six weeks. Clifford Baker (Nicholls' head lad) rides him every day - if anyone is going to know it’s him."
Nicholls said: "We will give him a month's work and then Clive and I will have a chat. There is only one possible race he can run in and that’s the King George. He wouldn’t be ready for the Betfair Chase (at Haydock on November 24)."
Kauto Star has won 16 Grade One races to date during a magnificent career.
Although he became the first horse to reclaim the Gold Cup at Cheltenham in 2009, having firstly taken the holy grail of jumps racing in 2007, the esteemed chaser will also be fondly remembered for his startling five Kempton victories.
He made history in December 2009 when becoming the first horse to win four consecutive renewals of the King George, but even better was to come last season.
Many believed retirement beckoned when he was pulled up in the Punchestown Guinness Gold Cup in May 2011, but Kauto Star stunned the doubters on his comeback with a fourth triumph in the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November in which he defeated Long Run, the 2011 Gold Cup hero, by eight lengths.
Nicholls and Smith then sent him back to Kempton for the King George at Christmas, when he produced arguably his greatest performance with a length-and-a-quarter defeat of old rival Long Run.
However, Kauto Star's preparations for the 2012 Gold Cup suffered a major blow in late February when Nicholls revealed he had taken "a pretty awful fall" during a schooling session.
Connections eventually give him the go-ahead to compete in the race but Ruby Walsh's partner was pulled up with a circuit remaining.