Lasting Legacy For Welsh Longshot That Made Racing History


09 October 2019

A lasting tribute is to be made at Ffos Las Racecourse this October to the unlikely Welsh racehorse that beat a household name to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup at odds of 100-1.

Norton’s Coin, trained 20 miles from the track, shocked the nation when he defeated superstar racehorse Desert Orchid in the 1990 Cheltenham Gold Cup, the most prestigious event in the jump racing calendar.

Driven to the race by his farmer owner and trainer once he’d finished his milking round, Norton’s Coin made Welsh hearts soar by chasing down the lead and breaking the course record, winning by three quarters of a length in the race’s final furlong.

Now, nearly 30 years on, Ffos Las Racecourse will pay tribute to the brave local hero by dedicating an annual race to his legacy.

The Norton’s Coin Cup Novices’ Chase will be held for the first time on Saturday 19th October, the same day as the biggest race of the year at the course, the Low Cost Vans Welsh Champion Hurdle.

The race will be a lasting reminder of the incredible pairing of this former point-to-point horse and Carmarthenshire farmer Sirrell Griffiths.

Having known Norton’s Coin locally since he was a foal and after tracking his success in point-to points, Mr Griffiths bought him 1988 and knew straight away he had a talent.

With just two or three horses in his stables, he masterminded Norton’s Coin career as his owner, trainer and work-rider.

Executive Director of Ffos Las Racecourse, Phil Bell, said: “We’re delighted to give this incredible story the recognition it deserves here at Ffos Las.

“By beating Desert Orchid and winning the jewel in the crown of jump racing, Norton’s Coin and owner Sirrell Griffiths earned the admiration and respect of a generation, but they’ve never been properly honoured for their success.

“We can’t wait to run the Norton’s Coin Cup here and we hope race-goers will enjoy the story of the plucky Welsh pair as much as we do.”

The tribute has also been welcomed by Sirrell Griffiths. He said: Norton’s Coin provided me with a fairytale success which produced national headlines not just in racing but across the sporting world. I am delighted that Ffos Las have agreed to name a race in his memory, it means Norton’s Coin will live on and be remembered annually by the nation’s racegoers”.

Norton’s Coin was retired in February 1993 and died eight years later at the age of 20. He’s now buried in the same sunny Carmarthenshire field that he was born in.

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