Once Upon a Time

Tara Madgwick - Thursday May 7

Once upon a time there was a stallion that could not get a good filly for love nor money.

Commands (1996 - 2014) - sire of 80 SW's.His name was Commands… and the win of Bella Vella last Saturday in the Group I SAJC Robert Sangster got me thinking about what an interesting stallion he was and how ironic it is that the two best horses from his last crop of foals would be New Zealand Horse of the Year Melody Belle and now Bella Vella, who are both mares.

As a Group III winning son of champion sire Danehill, Commands started his stud career at the lowly fee of $11,000 at Woodlands Stud before later ending as an elite Darley sire, who commanded a fee of $55,000 or $66,000 for the last seven seasons he stood at stud before his death in 2014.

In the early days, Commands quickly made people sit up and take note with string of handy stakes horses, but it quickly became apparent that his fillies were not as good.

His first three crops produced 16 stakes-winners of which just three were Listed winning fillies and his fourth crop produced seven stakes-winners, but only one filly, however she was Russeting, who won a G1 Tatts Winter Stakes as a four year-old in 2009.

His fifth crop proved the tide had turned with seven stakes-winners and five of them fillies headed by Purple, who won the 2009 Group ATC Storm Queen Stakes and Queensland Oaks.

10 time G1 winner Melody Belle is from the last crop sired by Commands and is also his most prolific G1 winner Commands retired to stud in 2000 and it was not until the latter part of that 2008 / 2009 season that he finally had serious success with some fillies to dispel the perception he was a sire of colts only with Purple and Russeting proving game changers.

His next four crops produced 29 stakes-winners of which 10 were fillies including Group I winners Appearance (a four time G1 winner) and Commanding Jewel.

In his last five crops he produced 21 stakes-winners, 11 of them fillies with Group I winners Melody Belle and Bella Vella providing him with a fitting finale.

For the record, the current overall statistics for Commands are 73.9% winners to runners and 80 stakes-winners with a 6.1% stakes-winner to runner strike rate.

The same statistics for colts are 78.8% winners to runners and 50 stakes-winners (seven G1 winners) at 7.3% stakes-winners to runners.

The same statistics for fillies are 68.5% winners to runners and 30 stakes-winners (six G1 winners) at 4.6% stakes-winners to runners.

The tally of Group I winners is probably the most interesting point with seven for colts and six for fillies showing that at the end of the day Commands was indeed a very good sire for both sexes.

G1 Colts and Geldings

G1 Fillies


Melody Belle






Commanding Jewel




Bella Vella




More Reading...
A Closer Look at Pierro
The bar is set high for Golden Slipper winners that go to stud and all are afforded great opportunity from the get go, but some do better than others and a substantial fee increase this year for Pierro would suggest many breeders believe he has the potential to go all the way and emulate the success of legendary Golden Slipper winning Champion Australian Sires such as Marscay, Flying Spur and
First French Classics Decided – Breeding Angles
If you're a fan of line breeding to superior mares, then this story will be well worth reading.
New Group I Winner for Invincible Spirit
He’s become one of the hottest sires of sires in the world, but the latest Group I winner for Invincible Spirit is progressive four year-old mare Nazeef, who landed the Group I Falmouth Stakes (1m) at Newmarket in the UK overnight.
Daily Roundup For Sunday July 12
A quick overview of today's results covering maiden winners, first season sire placegetters, second season sire winners and highest priced winners.
I Am Invincible's Efflorescence Makes it Two in a Row
Despite giving supporters a nervous time over the final 50 metres of Saturday’s opener over 1400m at Caulfield, Phoenix Thoroughbreds I Am Invincible colt Efflorescence did enough to make it two wins in succession.
More Than Ready Keeps On Keeping On
Winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at two, Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at three, Just a Game Stakes and Jenny Wiley Stakes at four, the five-year-old More Than Ready (USA) mare Rushing Fall joined an exclusive club when defending her title in Saturday’s Coolmore Jenny Wiley Stakes on the turf at Keeneland.
Who Were the Most Popular Sires in 2019?
The Australian Studbook have released statistics on the busiest sires in 2019 with nine stallions covering 200 plus mares and the most popular of them all being the same horse that topped the list last year.
Magic Pinhook Winners
A record breaking Magic Millions made for a fertile ground for pinhookers with many producing good results and a full list with highlights in this story.
G1 July Cup Winner Features Familiar Bloodlines
The Group I Darley July Cup (5f) was run overnight at Newmarket with the winner Oxsted giving another sire son of Invincible Spirit in Mayson his first Group I winner, whilst also highlighting the merit of his dam sire Choisir.
Pinatubo G1 Highlights Shamardal Sunday
Darley’s much missed sire Shamardal, who died earlier this year, delivered four stakes-winners in Europe on Sunday headed by his champion colt Pinatubo, who returned to top form in the Group I Prix Jean Prat (1400m) at Deauville.