The total of Group 1 winners sired by Commands now stands at 12, following the recent breakthrough victory of Manuel in the CF Orr Stakes, the same day that his daughter Melody Belle won her fourth G1 in New Zealand. He’s now only one shy of Flying Spur’s tally, with Redoute’s Choice and Fastnet Rock leading the way.
Commands was also a trend setter. Renowned for his ability to sire winning racehorses, he won three consecutive national titles with his number of individual winners from 2009/10 to 2011/12, setting a record of 155 winners in 2010/11.
No sire in recent history has put together such a run – Snitzel is on a treble this year but he’s having to contend with a young upstart by the name of I Am Invincible who is currently well clear of his distinguished older rival.
Commands, in those famous cerise silks of the Ingham brothers’ Woodlands Stud, began his racing career on a high note. A winner of three of his four two-year-old races – all at Rosehill over 1,100m – including the G3 Missile Stakes, Commands would only get his head in front once in an 11-race three-year-old campaign, but it was his third by under a half-length to Redoute’s Choice and Testa Rossa in the G1 Caulfield Guineas and his narrow-margin second in the G1 Galaxy that defined his class. Timeform assessed him at 121, which is a higher rating than many G1 winners achieve.
Being a son of Danehill from one of the most influential families in Australia, Commands was always going to get an opportunity at stud. His grandam Eight Carat, an unplaced half-sister to one of the best female sprinters ever seen in Europe in Habibti, produced many a memorable day for the Inghams, principally through her son, the great Octagonal. This is the same Courtessa family that’s recently given us Cracksman and Golden Horn in the northern hemisphere.
Moreover, Commands was the five-year younger full brother of Champion three-year-old and five-time G1 winner Danewin. Though there seemed to be gulf between the pair’s race records, Danewin was rated 124 by Timeform, only three points ahead of his younger sibling. And there is little doubt as to which was the better sire, with Commands siring 77 Stakes winners, compared to his older brother’s 30. Commands had 39 Group winners and Danewin 15.
Danewin did in fact post a higher percentage of Stakes winners (7.8%) from mares that only managed 3.6% by other sires. Commands, meanwhile, had access to higher quality mares (they produced 5.9% Stakes winners by other sires) and converted 6.3% into Stakes winners.
Significantly, Commands’ best racehorses were clearly better than his brothers’, producing a top-ten average Timeform rating of 122.8 compared to Danewin’s 118.7. It is this metric more than any other that defines Commands’ place among the leading sires in Australia – only five since the days of Danehill have recorded a better top-ten average.
Commands spent the first eight years of his new career at Woodlands before the whole Ingham enterprise was purchased by Sheikh Mohammed. By then his reputation as a stallion was soaring and he spent the next six seasons standing at $50,000 or more. His last four crops before his death produced yearling averages of $137k, $160k, $124k and $136k. So, despite unsuccessful trips to France in 2002 and Japan in 2010 and 2011, Commands will go down in history as an important influence in Australia.
His 12 G1 winners there are headed by current Darley stallion Epaulette, the 126-rated sprinter who scored in the G1 Golden Rose and G1 Doomben 10,000 as well as running second in the G1 TJ Smith and third in the G1 Caulfield Guineas.
G1 winners by Commands
|G1w||122||SKILLED||2007||C||DEXTROUS G2w||QUEST FOR FAME|
|G1w||121||APPEARANCE||2008||F||DISGUISE W||GRAND LODGE|
|G1w||118||COMMANDING JEWEL||2009||F||REGARD W||ZABEEL|
|G1w||118||PURPLE||2005||F||LADY VIOLA W||ZABEEL|
|G1w||117||EREWHON||2007||G||Pseudonym UP||QUEST FOR FAME|
|G1w||114||RUSSETING||2004||F||GRANNY APPLE W||BLUEBIRD|
|G1w||113||MELODY BELLE||2014||F||MELEKA BELLE W||IFFRAAJ|
|G1w||110||MANUEL||2013||G||GIRL HUSSLER LRwG3p||HUSSONET|
Although there are a few unexposed stallion sons of Commands still in the pipeline, notably G1 winner Holler, it looks like the future of the Commands sire line could rest with Epaulette. This three-parts brother to triple G1 winner Helmet has made a very bright start to his career. His first crop already features six Stakes winners, which puts him among some the best at the same stage of their career. The likes of Exceed And Excel and I Am Invincible only had one more, while Redoute’s Choice and his stellar sire Danehill only had two more.