Irish Sport Horse Up Too Jacco Blue Rising to the Top

  • 30 March 2023, 12:35
Mark Sherry, breeder of Up Too Jacco Blue spoke to Horse Sport Ireland about his breeding journey and plans for the future

The Irish Sport Horse gelding Up Too Jacco Blue picked up from where he left off last year, recording the second international five-star victory of his career last week at the Dutch Masters in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

Ridden by world number 15 Max Kühner, Up Too Jacco won the €52,600, Audi Prize 1.50m class on March 11th. This victory came on the back of a top ten placing the previous day at the same venue.

The 12-year-old is by Chacco Blue (MECKL) and out of Celestial Up Too (ISH), by ARD VDL Douglas (KWPN). He is owned by Hans Christian Jacobsen and was bred by Co Wicklow’s Mark Sherry.


Quality Over Quantity

The success of Up Too Jacco Blue has not come about by accident. Mark works alongside Imelda Creighton, priding themselves on breeding a select group of talented young horses.

Speaking to Horse Sport Ireland about their breeding operation, Mark said: “I am in partnership with Imelda Creighton and my breeding interests are modest and small in scale. It’s very much a hobby for me and a business for Imelda – she has a number of good quality mares. Dr Andrea Carli provides the veterinary expertise, and lots of counselling and advice.”

Celestial Up Too is an Irish Sport Horse mare purchased by Mark from the Creighton family. “I bought his dam from the Creighton family at Old Mill House Stud. Celestial Up Too, Lucy to everyone at home, was jumped as a four-year-old by Alan Creighton, and was bred and produced by his sister Imelda.”

Up Too Jacco Blue is the first progeny out of Celestial Up Too, he always impressed at home and Mark is delighted to see him shine on the international stage. Speaking about his personality as a young horse, he added: “He was quite the personality – very bossy – just like his dam!”

This St. Patrick’s Day Up Too Jacco Blue and Kühner continued their run of good form with another top ten placing at five-star level in Paris.

Making the right stallion selection is essential, so when it came to selecting what stallion to use with Celestial Up Too Mark got some expert advice that proved worth listening too.

“David O’Brien recommended Chacco Blue to us and it would be hard to reject advice of that quality.  David knew the mare well and given his experience and knowledge of the key stallions across Europe it was very easy for him to advise us.”

Up Too Jacco Blue and Tomas Fahy at the Irish Breedders Classic 7&8 year olds. Photo: Laurence Dunne

Exciting Future Ahead

Mark and Imelda have some exciting plans in the pipeline and hope to avail of the some of the Horse Sport Ireland Breeding Initiatives available. “These schemes are looking very attractive to us this year as we are considering our options based on results thus far. We don’t want to say too much just yet, but we have some nice plans.”

As well as breeding plans in the pipeline, Mark has some exciting young horses already on the ground.

“We have a very promising five-year-old mare with Bourns Sport Horses and a four-year-old with Clem McMahon. I’m really looking forward to learning about their progress. We are also expecting some progeny on the ground later this spring.”

Up Too Jacco Blue is not the first success story for Imelda and Mark. “Imelda and I have bred a small number of very nice horses who have gone on to do well – particularly in the UK,” Mark added.

“Imelda has Lucy’s two half-sisters and has produced some really nice eventers. Fernhill Pimms was with William Fox Pitt and had a top ten finish at Burghley Horse Trials some years ago.”


Progressing Up The Levels

Few ever doubted the potential of Up Too Jacco Blue, he was lucky to be given the luxury of time when being produced.

Speaking about his production and subsequent progression, Mark said: “He was slow to develop so we did not do too much with him. We broke him as a four-year-old and turned him away for a bit. brought back in as a five-year-old and he was bought from us at that stage.”

He first competed on the national circuit under Alan Creighton before Thomas Fahy took over the reins. This combination finished the 2018 season by jumping double clear in the seven- and eight-year-old championship at the Irish Breeders Classic.

In 2019 Up Too Jacco Blue made his international debut with Irish rider Jenny Rankin. The pair competed in Oliva, Spain and Drammen, Norway. Their top result was a top five in a 1.35m class at the CSI1* in Drammen. Later the same year Danish junior rider Gustav Christian Jacobsen took the ride on the then eight-year-old.

The partnership between Up Too Jacco Blue and Kühner began in mid-2020, and as the saying goes the rest is history. The pair quickly landed two top five placings within their first two shows. Their first top three placing came in the 1.30m in the CSI2*in Opglabbeek in January 2021.

It was in the CSI5* in St Tropez that they claimed their first international victory, winning the 1.50m class.

Watching Up Too Jacco Blue progress through up the levels has been particularly enjoyable for Mark, and he said: “We have had lots of fun following ‘Gonzo’s’ progress. He was always an exciting youngster and it is great to see him progress to this level.”

The Austrian rider is making a habit out of winning five-star classes on board Irish Sport Horses. In January of this year he won the Longines Grand Prix at the CSI5* in Basil, Switzerland with EIC Cooley Jump The Q (ISH).

Read more about the story of EIC Cooley Jump The Q and his breeder Pam Walshe.