Champion reinsman Chris Lewis produced a masterful frontrunning drive to win with Dasher VC and topple Im Themightyquinn in last night's $250,000 Yes Loans Fremantle Cup (2936m) at Gloucester Park.
The Andrew De Campo-trained Dasher VC ($6) lifted in the final stages to hold off a fighting chall- enge by the $1.40 favourite.
Dasher VC scored by a head from Im Themightyquinn, with Lombo Navigator 2m 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," De Campo said.
"Dasher VC's a super horse who's overcome recent setbacks."
He was having his first start for almost three months when third in the WA Pacing Cup a week ago.
De Campo has entered Dasher VC for the $750,000 Sydney Inter Dom- inion Championship (3000m) at Menangle on March 3.
The horse will contest an Inters qualifying race at Gloucester Park in four weeks.
Lewis, scoring his sixth Fremantle Cup victory, displayed tactical 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 the 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 the 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. He drove Smooth Business, trained by his late father Ray, to win the race in 1994.
Bunbury gelding Son Of Fergie gained some compensation for missing a Fremantle Cup start when he won last night's cup consolation over 2936m.
The Stephen De Campo-trained gelding, who was the Fremantle Cup's first emergency, ran on to beat pacemaker Bakerandthefatman by 1.5m.
Son Of Fergie's 21st win in a 98-start career was a carbon copy of his narrow victory over Bakerandthefatman a week earlier.
"It was disappointing Son Of Fergie didn't get a cup start," reinsman Aiden De Campo, the trainer's nephew, said.