The highly anticipated clash between star two-mile chasers Shishkin and Energumene drew one step closer after both remained in contention for Saturday's Grade 1 SBK Clarence House Chase (3.35) at Ascot following Monday's confirmation stage.
The pair have swept all before them over fences with Shishkin a perfect six from six in Britain and Energumene five from five in Ireland.
After Energumene missed last year's Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival – which was won by Shishkin – it was thought they may have their first head-to-head in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase in March.
However, Energumene's trainer Willie Mullins stated in December that his intention was to run at Ascot, while Nicky Henderson gave Shishkin the go-ahead after an impressive piece of work at the trainer's Seven Barrows base on Saturday.
The 11 horses who had been initially entered have been whittled down to five, with First Flow, Hitman and Amoola Gold the possible opponents to the fearsome duo.
Energumene also has the option of heading for the Ladbrokes Dublin Chase at Leopardstown's Dublin Racing Festival on February 6, while Henderson had mentioned Newbury's Betfair-backed Game Spirit as an alternative engagement for Shishkin.
SBK Clarence House Chase betting
Coral: 4-9 Shishkin, 9-4 Energumene, 6 First Flow, 11 Hitman, 50 Amoola Gold
Jonbon and Royale Pagaille set for Haydock assignments
Elsewhere on Saturday, the Henderson-trained Jonbon was entered for the Grade 2 Sky Bet Supreme Trial Rossington Main Novices' Hurdle (1.25) at Haydock as the unbeaten six-year-old warms up for a potential clash with stablemate Constitution Hill and the best of the Irish in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Last year's runaway winner Royale Pagaille was one of 17 entered for the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase (2.35).
Five-time Grade 1 winner and course specialist Bristol De Mai was also entered, although the 11-year-old grey could also line up in Sunday's £150,000 Fleur De Lys Chase (3.00) at Lingfield's Winter Million fixture.