CHAMPION River Verdon duly completed his first test of the season in his normal, efficient manner at yesterday's Sha Tin barrier trial session. The Melbourne Cup hopeful ran home a comfortable second to ante-post Derby favourite Sure Win King in the third of three heats on a sodden grass track, the pair pulling well clear of their rivals. Jockey Johnny Marshall eased River Verdon shortly after the start, taking him back and away from the rail and into the centre of the pack. River Verdon lost at least four lengths on Sure Win King in the process and this probably accounted for the fact that Sure Win King had a length to spare at the line. Trainer David Hill said he was perfectly satisfied with the gallop which was really to bring River Verdon on in readiness for his seasonal reappearance in a Class One limited handicap over 2,300 metres at the Sha Tin night meeting on September 17. Hill said: ''He did what we asked in a manner we expected. It was not what I would call a great piece of work but we are not at that stage of his preparation yet. But it was a good, sensible piece.'' River Verdon is likely to face only a handful of rivals at most on his reappearance as the specially framed contest was yesterday reopened in an effort to attract more entries. Gary Ng Ting-keung's Sure Win King, successful in three of his nine starts last season, most notably when conceding upwards seven pounds to all his rivals in a quality Sha Tin Vase, is one of the most forward horses in training. This was the second time he has excelled in a trial this season and he should lack nothing in fitness when the curtain rises for the campaign ahead on September 11. He has also made good physical progress and could well develop into one of the best Class One performers this season. However, for a horse whose main objective must be the Derby at the end of February, he is certainly being posed a very early question. In the other trials yesterday morning, there was a quality effort from John Moore's Survey King who went strongly to the line behind Dashing and Enthusiasm in the second heat. Survey King thrived under Moore's care last season and looks set to add more staying events to his name. Moore's new jockey, the Scottish-born New Zealander Brian York looks very polished in the saddle and was on the mark in the final heat with his trainer's Jollity.