"In 1963, he made racing history when bookies offered odds of 66-1 against his finishing the Grand National on horseback. Dividing his time equally between the saddle and the stretcher, this Spanish aristocrat entered the National seven times with imressively consistent results.
"Generally he would start with the others, gallop briefly and then wake up in the ICU of the Royal Liverpool Infirmary. It was the fences that caused the trouble.
"In 1952, the Duc fell at the sixth fence and almost broke his neck. In 1963, it was the fourth. In 1965, his horse collapsed and in 1973 his stirrup broke. He clung on for eight fences before being sent into inevitable orbit.
"In 1974, he fell off during training and staff at the casualty unit were surprised to see him wheeled in before the race had even begun. Undetered, this fine man rode in the National with a broken collar bone and a leg in plaster.
"'I sat like sack of potatoes,' he said in his faltering English, 'and gave horse no help.' This may explain how he came to complete the course for the only time in his splendid career."