Champion sprinter POTCHEEN should defy topweight once again and win today’s grade-one feature over 1200 metres for the None Such Sprint Trophy at Caymanas Park. The $1.2 million race is run annually in honour of the legendary native-bred sprinter None Such, who was Horse of the Year in 1967. Significantly, None Such won more than 20 races in an illustrious career and was ridden to victory on many occasions by Hall of Famer Kenneth Mattis, who died in October last year at age 78. Fittingly, the Kenneth Mattis OD Memorial Trophy over 2000 metres for overnight allowance horses will be run as the supporting feature on the card, this attracting seven starters, including top contenders ROYAL VIBES, MIRACLE STAR and BOLD AVIATOR. POTCHEEN, who shoulders topweight of 57.0kg with customary rider Omar Walker aboard, is out for the first time since winning the Lotto Sprint Trophy over 1100 metres on May 23, a race in which he closed rapidly on the rails to beat the fleet-footed FORTUNEONEHUNDRED by a neck in the fairly good time of 1:06.0. In that race, the Harry Parsard-trained POTCHEEN had stable-companion UPPA TUNE behind in fifth, while further behind were PETE’SWILDONE and the 2013 derby winner, PERFECT NEIGHBOUR. All three renew rivalry with POTCHEEN on slightly improved terms at the weights, and with UPPA TUNE and the Wayne DaCosta-trained PERFECT NEIGHBOUR having looked razor-sharp at exercise, it could be closer. Both UPPA TUNE and PERFECT NEGHBOUR have won their subsequent races, the Parsard-trained UPPA TUNE capturing the Reggae Trophy over the straight on July 11, and PERFECT NEIGHBOUR the Prime Minister’s Stakes over 2000 metres on August 6. UPPA TUNE, in particular, represents the genuine speed in this small field, and with Paul ‘Country’ Francis retaining the ride aboard the versatile American horse, he will have to be caught. However, a well-prepared POTCHEEN won’t be far off turning for home, and his now-famous stretch run should prove too much for UPPA TUNE in deep stretch. Other firm fancies on the card are TARANIS (Ellis up) to go one better in the second race over 1820 metres, FORCE DE JOUR to repeat in the third over the straight, down-in-class INFANTRY OFFICER in the sixth, DOOLAHIN in the eighth, and ROYAL VIBES in the Kenneth Mattis OD Memorial Trophy.
NEW YORK – The tour was a whirlwind: dancing at a beachside disco in Spain surrounded by scantily clad women, grabbing a seat at a lively pub in Dublin, flying in a small aircraft above a lush, tropical forest. Time elapsed? Less than two hours. With no tickets required, no money spent and no need to leave your seat, touring in the virtual world of “Second Life” holds a certain appeal for travelers willing to delve deep into the Internet to find their escape. Visitors need only download a free program, then log in. With the help of elaborate 3-D locales designed and built by the world’s residents, tourists can watch their online embodiments – known as their avatars – lounge at the beach, dine at a romantic restaurant, or go out dancing at a crowded nightclub. In “Second Life,” even language difficulties are a thing of the past. Visitors can pick up a free translation program and carry on typed conversations with others speaking any of nine languages. For those looking to get their bearings, one option is the guided tour. Virtual travel agency Synthravels seeks to match up “tourists” and volunteer guides in 27 different online worlds, including “Second Life,” “World of Warcraft” and others. On one recent tour of “Second Life,” Synthravels founder Mario Gerosa led the way to a virtual representation of the Spanish island of Ibiza, stopping first at a shop selling traditional flamenco garb, then at a disco surrounded by sand and sea, where with the click of a mouse avatars can dance. Also on the tour: Dublin, a popular hangout among Irish users, and an island called Svarga, where a flying pod carries avatars above what appears to be a rain forest filled with huge trees and giant mushrooms. Like any guided tour in “Second Life,” though, this one carried its own inherent difficulties. With both leader and led under their own power, it was quite easy to get separated. Like the Vatican in the height of tourist season, “Second Life” locations tend to get especially crowded when it’s evening in the U.S. or Europe, and the resulting computer lag time can make navigating cumbersome. And finding a guide can be a challenge. The Synthravels Web site has connected guides and tourists more than 200 times, according to Gerosa. For now, it does not charge visitors or pay guides, and finding a tour depends on the sometimes-fickle interest of volunteers. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Like in the real world, it’s easy to get lost. Longtime inhabitants of “Second Life” are creating automated tours, opening virtual travel agencies and even publishing travel guidebooks modeled after those seen in the hands of confused tourists. Of course, there are some glaring differences between your average Frommer’s guide and “The Unofficial Tourists’ Guide to Second Life,” published in April by St. Martin’s Press. “There are sections on how to fly and how to hover,” said co-writer Paul Carr. But despite such necessary adjustments, he said, “it’s very much like going to a foreign country.” With the ability to fly and even teleport from place to place in “Second Life,” which hosted more than 1 million visitors in April, a vacation does not need to be a lengthy affair. As they travel to virtual Roman neighborhoods and fantastical worlds, visitors can interact with other participants from all over the (real) world – about three-quarters of users are from outside the U.S., mostly from Europe, Brazil, Canada, Japan and Australia.