Champion harness racing reinsman Chris Lewis produced a masterful front running drive to win with Dasher VC and topple Im Themightyquinn in Friday night's $250,000 Yes Loans Fremantle Cup (2936m) at Gloucester Park.
The Andrew De Campo-trained Dasher VC ($6) lifted in final stages to hold a fighting challenge by $1.40 favourite Im Themightyquinn, who had a tough run.
Dasher VC scored by a head from Im Themightyquinn, with Lombo Navigator two metres back in third place.
The race was a triumph for Capel-based De Campo, who also trains Lombo Navigator.
"There'll be big celebrations at the Capel pub tomorrow," said De Campo. "Dasher VC's a super horse who's overcome recent setbacks.
"He's had a series of problems over several weeks.
"The horse was having his first start for almost three months when third in the WA Pacing Cup a week ago. It's a great credit to him that he could win a Fremantle Cup second-up over 2900 metres."
De Campo has entered Dasher VC for the $750,000 Sydney Inter Dominion Championship (3000m) at Menangle on 3rd March.
The horse will contest an Inters qualifying race at Gloucester Park in four weeks.
Lewis, scoring his sixth Fremantle Cup victory, displayed tacical genius.
He slowed the pace noticeably and forced Im Themightyquinn's reinsman Gary Hall Jr to play his hand early.
Im Themightyquinn was coasting in sixth position, but Hall knew at the 1000m that Lewis was getting away with an easy run and would have plenty in reserve unless pressured.
Hall had little option but to make an early move which did not suit Im Themightyquinn. He is best when pace is fast and he can be saved for a dazzling late sprint.
Im Themightyquinn raced outside Dasher VC from the 900m and looked set to overpower him, but the clever Lewis had something up his sleeve.
"Dasher VC was always travelling well,": Lewis said. "My only worry was whether he would strongly stay 2900m at only his second start in three months."
Owners Paul and Tony Poli transferred Dasher VC to De Campo last year.
"Andrew has brought off a wonderful training feat," Paul Poli said. "What a legendary drive by Chris Lewis!"
It was De Campo's second Fremantle Cup success. The trainer drove Smooth Business, trained by his late father Ray De Campo, to win the race in 1994.
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