Prominent Australian sire Commands died suddenly during the early morning hours July 12 at Darley's Kelvinside Stud in New South Wales. The son of Danehill was 17.
Commands is one of only two stallions in Australia to have sired 10 or more stakes winners in each of the past four racing seasons, the other being Redoute's Choice.
Known for tough, durable runners, Commands set an Australian record of 155 individual winners in the 2010-11 racing season. He also was the nation's leading sire by winners three consecutive seasons.
Commands' top performers among 63 stakes winners include group I winners Appearance
, Commanding Jewel, Epaulette
, Erewhon, Paratroopers, Purple, Russeting, Skilled
, and Undue. Overall, he is the sire of 717 winners from 1,025 of starters from 12 crops racing. His progeny have amassed nearly Aus$84 million in purses.
Commands finished third among last year's leading sires in Australia, behind Exceed And Excel and Fastnet Rock, due in large part to his brilliant daughter Appearance. She became the first mare in history to claim the group I treble of the Myer Classic, Queen of the Turf, and Coolmore Classic in a single season, 2012-13, and has since joined Darley's broodmare band.
"Fortunately his legacy will live on through his progeny and we are lucky enough to have two of his group I-winning sons in Epaulette and Skilled standing on our roster this year," said Henry Plumptre, managing director of Darley in Australia.
Commands, out of the My Swanee mare Cotehele House, was bred in Australia by Arrowfield Stud. He is a full brother to Australian champion and sire Danewin.
Trained throughout his career by John Hawkes, Commands posted a 4-1-4 record from 15 career starts for Jack and Bob Ingham of Woodlands Stud, winning the 1999 Missile Stakes (Aus-III) and finishing second twice at the group I level in the 2000 The Galaxy and 1999 Caulfield Guineas. Darley acquired Commands with their purchase of Woodlands Stud six years ago.
"Commands was a champion who will be sadly missed by not only Darley but his legion of loyal supporters," said Alastair Pulford, Darley's head of sales in Australia. "He is one of the rare stallions that made it the hard way, rapidly ascending from a service fee of just (Aus)$10,000 in his first season at stud to become one of the country's elite stallions."
Commands covered 160 mares during last year's Southern Hemisphere season. Earlier in his career he shuttled to France and Japan.
"Commands has had a profound influence on the success of our racing team since the Woodlands purchase in 2008," Plumptre said. "His consistency and ability to produce a group I horse every year has underpinned the purchase and he will be sorely missed."