Highly promising Hail The Storm can graduate to a season of higher expectations by winning the Chinese Recreation Club Challenge Cup over 1,400m first-up for the season at Sha Tin this afternoon. The Caspar Fownes-trained son of Metal Storm made a big impression in just six starts last season, despite being disadvantaged by wet ground on a number of occasions. The weather will be key as, in only two runs on firm going, Hail The Storm ran a cracking first-up second to Yellow Diamond at 1,200m, then ran on to overcome a pronounced leader-bias and beat a smart field over today's course in May. Last time out, Douglas Whyte did not persevere with Hail The Storm on May 21 when he became concerned with the horse's action so punters would be well advised to overlook the effort. On what he has done on top of the ground, Hail The Storm should prove one of the better four-year-olds in Hong Kong this term and nice and fresh at 1,400m should suit. Another four-year-old with high hopes for this season will be Happee Owner, who is already a Group One winner as a three-year-old in New Zealand. Undoubtedly he was brought here by Robert Ng Chee-siong with the Hong Kong Derby on his horizon and the owner received neither encouragement nor discouragement from two starts for David Hayes in April. First time out, the gelding was the medium of a huge betting move but raced wide and keen for apprentice Alex Lai Hoi-wing, and Happee Owner was unable to show his true worth in a slowly-run Class One. When next produced, Happee Owner caught heavy backwash in the straight when Swiss Lad snapped a foreleg and fell back through the field in the final stages of a Class Two over 1,400m on April 24. Now with Tony Cruz, Happee Owner might be wanting further than 1,400m to bring out his best but, fresh and keen, he can run a bold race first time out. Perhaps the quandary for both of these upwardly mobile four-year-olds is the pace of the event today - with Amazing Victory and Hip Hip Hooray looking the only front-runners. Hip Hip Hooray (Alex Lai) blotted his record last start after three straight wins but rider Anthony Delpech told the stewards on that occasion that the gelding didn't handle the soft going. The five-year-old has worked well and, with the tactical benefit of going forward under his light weight, Hip Hip Hooray looks very competitive. John Moore's pair of Amazing Victory (Eric Saint-Martin) and Whatabob both look to have claims. Whatabob should get the run of the race from gate one.