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Beltrán Osorio, 19th Duke of Alburquerque

Beltrán Alfonso Osorio y Díez de Rivera, 19th Duke of Alburquerque, (15 December 1918 - 18 February 1994), 4 times Grandee of Spain, he was also Duke of Algete, Marquis of Alcañices, los Balbases, Cadreita, Cuéllar, Cullera and Montaos, Count of Fuensaldaña, Grajal, Huelma, Ledesma, la Torre, Villanueva de Cañedo and Villaumbrosa. This Spanish aristocrat was known as the "Iron Duke" of Alburquerque, and was an amateur horse jockey.

The Duke became obsessed with winning Britain's Grand National Steeplechase horse race when after watching a film of the race on his eighth birthday. However, each of his attempts ended in failure.

  • On his first attempt in 1952, he fell from his horse, waking up later in hospital with a cracked vertebra.
  • He tried to win again in 1963, and fell from his horse yet again. (Bookies placed a bet of 66-1 against him finishing still on the horse).
  • He raced again in 1965, but again fell from his horse after it collapsed underneath him, breaking his leg.
  • In 1974, after having sixteen screws removed from a leg he had broken after falling in another race, he also fell while training for the Grand National and broke his collarbone. He then competed in a plaster cast in the race, this time managing to finish, but only in eighth place.
  • One anecdote from this race is that he barged into Ron Barry at second Canal Turn; Barry said "What the **** are you doing?", to which he replied: "My dear chap I haven't a clue...I've never got this far before!"
  • In 1976 the duke fell again during a race, this time being trampled by other horses. He suffered seven broken ribs, several broken vertabrae, a broken wrist, a broken thigh, and a severe concussion which left him in a coma for two days.

At 57, the Iron Duke still tried to compete, but officials pulled his license for "his own safety". He never won the Grand National, but broke more bones than any other jockey in attempting to do so.


  • Instituto de Salazar y Castro (in Spanish). Elenco de Grandezas y Titulos Nobiliarios Españoles. periodic publication 

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