RIVER Verdon will start for the first time at Happy Valley on Wednesday night when stepping out for the Happy Valley Trophy, the first leg of the inaugural sprint triple crown series. River Verdon's trainer David Hill confirmed yesterday afternoon: ''He goes to the Valley and why not? ''After all, the race is the first leg of the new triple crown for sprinters and carries decent prize money. ''It also comes at the right time in his preparation for the International Cup in December.'' The race is building up into a top affair with John Moore's recent impressive winner, Happy Money, set to run and renew rivalry with Red Ruffian who beat him in last season's Chairman's Prize - the end-of-season sprint championship. With Basil Marcus staying loyal to River Verdon, despite the trip looking on the short side for the son of Be My Native, brilliant Irish champion jockey Mick Kinane has been booked for the ride on Red Ruffian. But Patrick Biancone's Derby winner and luckless International Bowl runner-up Helene Star misses his intended reappearance in the Valley showpiece. Biancone said yesterday: ''Everything is okay with the horse. It's simply a case of him not coming to himself in time for the race. He's not ready yet.'' It has certainly been a topsy-turvy week for Kinane who came down to earth quite literally with a bump at Sha Tin yesterday following his superb Melbourne Cup exploits on Vintage Crop on Tuesday. Yesterday Kinane suffered a painful twisted left knee when thrown from the head-strong Third Time Lucky as they made their way out to the track for the fifth event. Kinane was forced to give up his remaining three rides but hopes to be back in action for Red Ruffian on Wednesday night.