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Tony Piccone eager to conquer Happy Valley with opportunities scarce and a suspension looming

The Frenchman is looking to go one better with his only mount at Wednesday night’s meeting

He’s only got one ride at Happy Valley on Wednesday night and with a suspension looming and a zero next to his name in the win column, Tony Piccone knows how important it is to make it count.

Luckily for him it’s an in-form galloper he climbs aboard at the midweek meeting, with Heart Conquered looking to go one better than his narrow second a fortnight ago in the Class Three Clementi Handicap (1,000m).

After exploding out of the gates last time out under Piccone, Heart Conquered went agonisingly close to leading all the way but was nabbed in the final stride by a fast-finishing Resolute.

“I must win tomorrow,” Piccone said with a smile. “The horse is good and I’d be very disappointed if I can’t finish in the first three and with a good race he can win.”

After jumping from gate four last start, Heart Conquered has drawn barrier eight for Wednesday night’s contest and carries an extra three pounds.

“He ran very well last time but he’s gone up two points and tomorrow I have a bad draw, but he knows Happy Valley perfectly and he knows his job,” said Piccone, who has only had 12 rides across the opening five meetings of the season. “I’ll try to go to the front again or sit second, he just needs to be happy.”

Heart Conquered will again lock horns with Wine And Wine, who was a couple of lengths further back in third two weeks ago, as well as Flying Genius and Wild West Wing.

The Richard Gibson-trained speedster is yet to break his Hong Kong maiden in 16 starts but has placed five times over five furlongs at the city circuit.

Piccone has been in the saddle for three of those and hopes to get the monkey off his back for the 2021-22 campaign so not to give his winless start the chance to stretch into mid-October.

The Frenchman has four rides at Sha Tin on Sunday and is only expecting a couple of mounts at the National Day meeting on October 1, while he will miss the cards on October 6 and 10 after being found guilty of careless riding aboard Zelus on the weekend.

“Maybe two or three winners and I can enjoy my suspension,” Piccone joked.

Elsewhere on Wednesday night’s card, Chris So Wai-yin is hopeful Decisive Twelve can continue his winning ways in the Class Three Cooper Handicap (1,200m) after a convincing victory under Alexis Badel on September 8.

Badel retains the ride on the five-year-old son of All Too Hard, who carries 133 pounds from gate three in what looks an even contest.

“Now he’s five years old he’s more mature mentally and physically he’s a lot better. Last time he ran pretty well and we’re happy,” So said of the galloper, who has only missed a placing three times from 12 starts.

“We’ve got a good draw again so let’s see how he performs, I think it’s a big test for him this time carrying top weight. He is a big boy so I think he can carry the weight.”

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