Secret heartache of Grand National winning owner JP McManus after daughter-in-law tragically died on Christmas holiday

RACHAEL BLACKMORE made history at Aintree on Saturday becoming the first female jockey ever to win the Grand National.

And the win would have been welcome news for Minella Times' billionaire owner JP McManus, whose daughter-in-law Emma McManus tragically died in December aged just 40.

Bookies feared a £15MILLION payout if the queen of the Cheltenham Festival won the £750,000 showpiece event.

And she made them count the cash by surging clear on the 11-1 shot to win the world's most famous contest convincingly at Aintree.

Not since February 1839, when the Grand National was first run, had a woman crossed the line in first.

Soon after Blackmore claimed the victory, the commentators mentioned McManus' tragic loss, which occurred while the family were on a family holiday in Barbados.

Emma was married to JP's son, John, and died on December 30 after becoming ill at a resort her family had been staying at in the Caribbean.

Irish tycoon McManus dramatically scratched ALL his UK and Ireland runners after mum-of-three Emma's tragic passing.

Emma's funeral took place on Barbados on January 12.

She is the daughter of former tennis player, Peter Leadbitter.


Her husband John spoke at her funeral and said: "Life has changed irreparably for us all.

"No words can describe the pain and sense of loss that I feel since my beautiful Ems passed away.

"She was the very centre of our family and the person who the kids and I turned to for everything."

Turning towards their three children – Milly, Lauren and Annie – he added: "Mummy loved you to infinity and beyond. You were the first and last thing she thought about everyday.

"She was so proud of you all and loved the hugs and laughter that we regularly shared.

"Although we cannot see her anymore, she will live on in our hearts. At any time we can look up at the sun, the moon, or the twinkling stars and know that mummy is there, looking down on us.

"Lastly, girls, you sometimes tell me, I am the strict one, well, my promise to the three of you today is that, I’ll be more like mum from now on."

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