Leading Australian sire Commandspassed away unexpectedly in the early hours of Saturday morning after suffering what vets believe was a heart attack.
Commands had plenty of success on the racecourse, including a win in the 1999 edition of the Group 3 Missile Stakes (1100m) and placings in the 1999 Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) and 2000 Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m), but went on to have even more success as a stallion after starting with a service fee of just $10,000 in his first season.
Commands held the title of Leading Australian Sire by winners on three separate occasions and during the 2010/2011 racing season he set an Australian record of 155 individual winners.
The son of Danehill sired nine Group 1 winners over a variety of distances and during the 2012/2013 racing season had three different winners at the highest level of racing; with Epaulette, Commanding Jewel and Appearance all taking out Group 1 events, making Commands the season’s most successful Group 1 stallion.
While Commands was capable of producing horses with the ability to win at Group 1 level, he was also noted for his consistently and in the last eight seasons no stallions have made more appearances on the Australian top ten leading sires list.
Darley Australia Managing Director Henry Plumptre was sadden to announce the news of Commands’ passing and said that the 17-year-old had been a key member of the Darley team since Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum purchased Woodlands stud in 2008.
“Commands has had a profound influence on the success of our racing team since the Woodlands purchase in 2008,” Plumptre said in a statement.
“His consistency and ability to produce a Group 1 horse every year has underpinned the purchase and he will be sorely missed.
“Fortunately his legacy will live on through his progeny and we are lucky enough to have two of his G1-winning sons in Epaulette and Skilled standing on our roster this year, while four-time G1 winner Appearance has joined another of his multiple G1-winning daughters in Purple in the Darley broodmare band.”
Commands is currently sitting seventh in the 2013/2014 Sire Premiership table and in the past twelve months alone he has had 12 stakes winners.
The leading stallion will have a final crop of yearlings born over the coming months after he covered 160 mares during the last Southern Hemisphere breeding season.