They have left an imprint on Scottish racing that time and tide have not washed away. The stalls at Ayr will clang open just before 4pm today for a race that will take about 70 seconds. It will be run to the echoes of pre-sprint hype that will talk of a Scottish curse stretching back 38 years.
The Ayr Gold Cup, a charge of 27 runners over six furlongs, is a £155,000 race, worth £96,487.50 to the winner. It is sponsored by William Hill but should carry the tagline: no Scottish-trained winner since 1975.
The memory of Roman Warrior is substantial. A huge chestnut, he won the Ayr Gold Cup in sight of his stable, as he was trained across the road from the racecourse at Cree Lodge by the late and legendary Nigel Angus.
Famously, when Roman Warrior arrived at the stable he was greeted by Charlie Williams, the assistant trainer, who told Angus: "Your camel has arrived."
The chestnut's triumph at Ayr was momentous. He carried top weight to victory over sapping ground, giving an astonishing 23lbs to the future champion Lochnagar.
If Roman Warrior was impressive, the trainer was flamboyant. Angus died aged 62 in 2006, but lived life to the full, with his passions for golf and gambling indulged to extraordinary levels. Angus played off scratch and was renowned for tilts at the ring in his guise as a punter.
He also won the Ayr Gold Cup in 1972 with Swinging Junior but it was the massive Roman Warrior, ridden by Johnny Seagrave, who held a special place in his affections after that astounding victory three years later.
Horse and jockey are also no longer with us. Roman Warrior, was syndicated to stud in Oxfordshire for a mere £2000 a share in 1976, never sired any exceptional offspring and died in 1998, aged 28.
Seagrave was forced to retire in 1983 after a fall and bought Rainbow Kennels in Malton, North Yorkshire, where he trained hundreds of greyhound winners before retiring altogether in 2005. He died in 2009.
The loss of horse, trainer and jockey from that last Scottish win adds some poignancy to the Ayr Gold Cup. The trail forged to the winning post by Roman Warrior has been followed by such brilliant sprinters as Longsong, trained to victory by Richard Hannon in 1992, but a genuine Scottish winner has been impossible to find despite the sterling efforts of trainers north of the border.
The major reason can be seen in the quality of previous winners and the standing of their trainers. Apart from Hannon, a trainer of the highest pedigree, the race has been won by Jack Berry, Ian Balding and on six occasions since the millennium by the canny David Nicholls. The simple task is to prepare a horse all season for a six-furlong charge, where a missed break or unlucky bump can scupper all hopes.
This preparation, of course, involves having a horse at the proper weight to have a chance in a race where very pound carried matters.
The Scottish hopes this year are burdened by both expectation and weight, particularly in the case of Jack Dexter. He and his stable companion Hawkeyethenoo are trained by Jim Goldie at Uplawmoor in Renfrewshire.
The trainer, born to the sport, has no illusions about the difficulty of the task, not least because he has attempted the course and distance before with his charges.
Jack Dexter, humping top weight and carrying the Saltire, is also weighted with ante-post favouritism. If these aspects do not impose enough strain on Goldie, Jack Dexter also holds the affections of his trainer, who bred the four-year-old.
Goldie trained the sire, Orientor, and the dam, Glenhurich, and believes Jack Dexter carries much of the stamp of his father.
Orientor was almost of Group One status and was a strong, imperious stallion. Jack Dexter is a gelding though he has more than a hint of class in make-up, winning the Ayr Bronze Cup last year off a weight of 9st 8lbs.
Goldie admits the horse is one of his favourites and it carries the names of his grandsons. "He is a very special horse," he said in the build-up to today's race. "He is not big physically but is very well balanced. He is not a lover of fast ground but still managed fourth in the King's Stand. I don't think we've seen the best of him yet ."
The softening of the ground at Ayr would not be a problem for Jack Dexter who is drawn at 22.
A victory would also testify to some valuable traits in modern racing. Goldie is a trainer who has had to work hard to gain a foothold in the sport and his business is almost a family affair. His wife, Davina, once drove the lorries but now manages the office in Uplawmoor.
They will approach Ayr today as if it is a second home. Goldie once attended the course as a Pony Club member. He is back on more serious business today.
If Jack Dexter is his main hope, Hawkeyethenoo, a Stewards' Cup winner, has a chance of breaking the Scottish hoodoo, but, in truth, there is no mystery behind the a lack of Scottish success.
This is a tough race, populated by horses who are weighted to have a chance, and entered by trainers with the sort of pasts that ensure successful futures. They include the estimable Sir Michael Stoute, who has won 15 British Classics, including the Derby five times. Goldie is thus confronted with a couple of dozen other contenders for the prize in terms of horseflesh and also faces the challenge posed by his peers.
There is more than a whisper for Spinatrix who has seven victories from 27 starts over six furlongs. Tropics, trained by Dean Ivory, is also a recent, impressive winner.
The challenge is as sizeable as the great Roman Warrior. It may need a performance of 1975 vintage to bring the Ayr Gold Cup home.