Skilled Choice for Riverbank Farm

Media Release - Wednesday October 3

Riverbank Farm's Russell Osborne and Dr Caroline Duddy have great pleasure in providing just the right stallions for the owner/breeder market, one that has traditionally been such a great force in Victorian breeding.

SkilledOne of the stallions on their roster that ticks the owner/breeder boxes is the handsome Skilled, a Group One winner by one of the country's reliable stallions out of a high class race and broodmare.

The dark brown, near black and very imposing Skilled is one of 77 stakes winners sired by the late Commands who maintained an impressive winning strike rate throughout his career with 71.2% of his runners being winners.

Eleven of Commands sons and daughters - Skilled, Appearance, Melody Belle, Purple, Epaulette, Undue, Paratroopers, Commanding Jewel, Holler, Russettting and Erewhon - have been successful at the elite level and he boasts progeny earnings in excess of $120 million.

A member of the ever flourshing Eight Carat family being a son of the wonderful broodmare Cotehele House, the Gr.3 Missile Stakes winning Commands is a full brother to the five times Group One winner Danewin who is also known for his classy reliability with a 72.2% winners-to-runners strike rate and a 7.9% black type ratio.

And the future looks bright for this branch of the Eight Carat clan with Deep Field and Shooting To Win proving so popular with breeders.

Skilled's dam line is a strong as his sire line with his dam being the Gr.2 Sandown Guineas and Gr.3 Vanity Stakes winner Dextrous who is excelling at stud with six of her seven foals to race being winners including the dual Gr.2 winner Sidestep (whose first crop are faring very well at the early juvenile trials) and the Gr.2 Theo Marks Stakes winning Gr.1 Epsom Handicap runner up Ambidexter who is doing a grand job in South Australia with 12 winners from his debut crop.

Skilled's family is one that has been producing high quality racehorses for generations, his Gr.3 placed second dam Many Hands also the grandam of Gr.3 Gunsynd Classic winner Proverb whilst his metropolitan winning third dam Deliberation is a half-sister to one of the greats of the Australian turf in Emancipation.

That six times Group One winner is just one of the classy members of this family, one that has also produced the Golden Slipper hero Hartshill, the dual Group One winning speedster Virage de Fortune, the dual Group One winning stayer Railings and the two times South African Group One winner Rumya.

Group winners Royal Pardon, Magneto, Amovatio, Avenue, Slapstick, Pimms Time, Badawiya, Appreciation, Par Avion and Eleazar are also members of this prolific family.

And Skilled was a good representative of the family, proving one of the best two-year-olds of his year easily winning the Listed Baillieu Stakes en route to a close and gutsy Gr.1 Sires' Produce Stakes second splitting Yosei and Hinchinbrook.

It was that run that saw him highly regarded for the Gr.1 Champagne Stakes but a tricky wide barrier draw made the job tough for him. But his natural pace and talent overcame that and Skilled added his name to the race's honour roll alongside the likes of Ajax, Flight, Todman, Noholme, Vain, Baguette, Luskin Star, Red Anchor, Bounding Away, Triscay, Burst, Tierce, Dance Hero and Pierro.

Kicking off his stud career at Darley, Skilled relocated to Riverbank last spring, pleasing Russell Osborne with the way he immediately settled in.

"He is such a lovely looking horse with a great temperament and he is doing a great job for owner/breeders," he said.

Dual Gr.3 winner Pecans has led the way for Skilled and looks set for a successful spring having returned to the trials just recently. Consistent metropolitan class gallopers Miss Jane, Cayman Dayze, So Skilled, Exalted Craftsman and Epidexious are also doing the job whilst Reedemable, Altered, Skilled Assassin, Jochberg, Lady Talent and Come On Carl are recent winners.

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